Tyne & Wear

Newcastle fans disrupt amateur game in Wigan

Newcastle United has described the behaviour of its fans who disrupted an amateur football match as "wholly unacceptable".

The incident happened before Sunday's away game against Wigan Athletic.

Some supporters stopped the nearby game between Wigan Cosmos and AFC Leigh Centurions by invading the pitch, ripping out nets and hanging on to the crossbars, and stealing a ball.

The Premier League club said it would reimburse Wigan Cosmos for any damage.

A spokesman from Cosmos said that supporters spilled out of the coaches, and watched the game from the touchline before some ran on to the field of play, causing the game to be stopped.

"The situation then magnified as a crowd of around 250-300 Newcastle United fans followed suit," he said.

"Although good-natured at first, the fans then started to rip out corner flags as they ran over the pitches and also took the match ball.

'Distasteful experience'

"We never recovered the ball, though we did manage to recover the corner flags.

"This incident was a very distasteful experience that lasted for over 40 minutes and with families, dads, granddads and youngsters all watching the games, as well as some quite experienced players who were all left shaken."

Newcastle United said in a statement: "Our travelling fans have a very good reputation, but the actions of a minority on this occasion were wholly unacceptable.

"Football, at all levels of the game, deserves the same degree of respect whether it is played in the Premier League or at the grassroots level.

"We were sorry to learn that this South Lancashire Counties Premier Division game was disrupted in this manner and we would urge anyone who witnessed this incident to contact Greater Manchester Police."

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