Space storms have become very fashionable in the first end of the season after the pandemic. In Germany, but also in England. There it comes within a few days to violent pretensions of a few fans. World champion Patrick Vieira has his very own answer.
Soccer world champion Patrick Vieira defended himself with a kick against an oncoming fan in the midst of a pitch storm at Everton FC against Crystal Palace. The 45-year-old Palace manager had to make his way back to the dressing room after the home side's fans celebrated their relegation on the pitch at Goodison Park after the English Premier League game.
Video footage showed a fan approaching Vieira and apparently filming and provoking him with a phone. The 1998 World Champion was already on his way to the dressing room but turned around, tried to grab the phone and then kicked the fan with his right foot. He fell to the ground. "I have nothing to say about that," said the Frenchman at the post-game press conference. Everton coach Frank Lampard showed understanding for his colleague. "I feel for Patrick," said the former England international.
The Everton supporters really had every reason to be happy. After a completely messed up season, the 3:2 (0:2) over Crystal Palace meant relegation. For a long time it did not end thereafter. Rafael Benitez took over from Carlo Ancelotti before the season. But while the Italian was working on his resurrection at Real Madrid, not far from the site of his greatest triumph, Liverpool, the Spaniard was sacked back in early 2022.
Benitez was followed by Lampard and things got a lot worse. The turning point came in May. Seven points from the first three games of the month gradually saw Everton climb out of the relegation zone. Against Crystal Palace now the final rescue and the square tower. "It was the sheer excitement of the fans coming onto the pitch after we avoided relegation," said Lampard after the game. "If done right, let them stay on the pitch, let them have their moment. As long as they behave, no problem."
However, behavior is a relatively problematic issue in England these days, but not only there. Just hours before the incidents in Everton, a 30-year-old Nottingham Forest fan was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison for assault. The man had violently attacked Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp after a win in the playoffs for promotion to the Premier League during a pitch storm.
Sharp, a former Forest player, had watched the penalty shoot-out and subsequent charge from the sidelines at the City Ground and was headbutted by the onrushing fan. Sharp then required medical treatment.
In Germany, too, there had been an increase in space storms in the past few weeks. After the promotion of the short-term second division FC Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen, the fans of the clubs wanted to celebrate together with their promotion heroes and there were injuries in both the Veltins Arena and the Weser Stadium.
At Schalke's last game of the season in Nuremberg, there was another pitch storm. A woman is said to have been sexually harassed by a man. The man touched her several times, among other things, and the case had already been reported, according to the website of the second division club from Franconia.