Man City fans raise money for 12-year-old Arsenal fan assaulted after match

Emerson Butler Image copyright Emerson Butler/gofundme
Image caption Emerson Butler's father said a "middle-aged man" was responsible for attacking his 12-year-old son

A fundraising campaign to raise money for a 12-year-old Arsenal supporter who was punched in the face by a Manchester City fan has almost reached its target.

Emerson Butler was attacked as he left Etihad Stadium with his father after Sunday's game in Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police said it was investigating the "unprovoked" assault.

City fans have set up a fundraising page, which has already raised £895 of its £1,000 target, to invite him back for "a proper Manchester City welcome".

Richard Butler said his son had been left badly shaken.

"He's still got a bit of bruising on his nose and he's still got some pain.

"It's not the physical injuries that are causing him the biggest problem now, it's more that he can't get it out of his head - he keeps going over and over it."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Emerson's dad said the assault had been "traumatic" for Emerson

Emerson was attacked as he and his father walked back to their car.

A group of middle-aged City fans engaged them in a brief conversation during which Emerson, who was wearing an Arsenal shirt, said he thought the 2-2 draw was a fair result.

One of the men then punched him in the face, bloodying his nose and mouth.

Mr Butler said that while his son is almost 6ft tall, he is unmistakably a child.

"The man had spent time speaking to him before [hitting him]. He had looked right in Emerson's face, he knew he was a child," he said.

"It was just unbelievable - it's not something you expect to happen in 2016 at a football match. It seemed like those days had gone but apparently not. I was in shock."

He said the response from other Manchester City fans had been "amazing" and that he was thankful for the "fantastic" outpouring which has "helped Emerson to see that it is a one-off".

The online campaign page states that fans want to "show Emerson that the majority of Manchester City fans are decent, caring human beings".

The club has also offered him a VIP trip back to the stadium when City play Arsenal next year.