Nottingham Forest is playing for promotion to the English Premier League at the end of May. Then a fan will definitely not be there: the man struck down the opposing captain out of the blue in a pitch storm. He is now in custody awaiting trial.
A 30-year-old man has been charged with assault after the attack on Sheffield captain Billy Sharp. The accused headbutted the unsuspecting Sharp on Tuesday evening after Nottingham Forest's win over Sheffield United in the second leg of the semifinals of the English Football Championship while thousands of fans stormed the pitch and knocked him to the ground with full force. Sharp then required medical treatment.
Nottingham won 3-2 on penalties and will play Huddersfield Town in the final on 29 May. Police investigations were launched immediately after the incident, and the Derbyshire man was arrested on Wednesday. He is in custody and is due to be heard in court in Nottingham this Thursday, according to English media reports.
"Hopefully cases like this will serve as a deterrent for anyone who is considering getting involved in violent altercations at football matches. Such incidents will be taken extremely seriously and football clubs and the individuals involved will be held accountable," said Nottingham Deputy Police Commissioner Rob Griffin. Nottingham Forest had already announced that they wanted to ban the perpetrator for life.
Sheffield manager Paul Heckingbottom said of the incident: "It's an assault. We saw one of our players attacked. He's bruised, bleeding and angry. We'll deal with it." He also spoke of a prison sentence and promised that the perpetrator "will be held accountable". Sharp, who did not feature in the game against Sheffield, was on loan at Nottingham Forest in the 2012/2013 season.
Nottingham, who won the English Championship in 1978, the European Cup in 1979 and 1980 and the FA Cup twice, last played in the Premier League in 1999. Huddersfield were promoted to the English top flight for the first time since the Premier League was launched in 1992 in 2017, before being relegated to the Championship in 2019.