Sharp needs stitches after assault by fan

Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp has been left needing stitches after being assaulted by a supporter following Nottingham Forest‘s penalty shootout win at the City Ground.

The former Forest player was knocked to the ground during a pitch invasion that followed Steve Cooper’s side’s victory on penalties in the Championship play-offs semi-final second leg.

Sharp, who missed the tie with a torn calf, was left requiring stitches after the unprovoked attack, which came when he was standing on the touchline and looking the other way as his team-mates attempted to leave the pitch amid thousands of celebrating home fans.

Sharp’s manager Paul Heckingbottom said: “Bill was minding his own business, off the pitch. Trying to get our players away and he was assaulted, blind-sided. It was cowardly.

“He was knocked to the ground, needs stitches. Really shook up. How can our safety be put at risk at our place of work?”

Forest said they were appalled at the assault of their former player, that they will work with the authorities to identify the individual, and that they would be given a lifetime ban by the club. They also apologised to Sharp and Sheffield United.

“It (the assault) is a prison sentence waiting to happen,” said Heckingbottom. “We have the footage and something will be done about it.”

“There’s been so many people talking, seeing things thrown on the pitch, seeing fans invade the pitch, seeing things that are going to put players’ health (and) safety in danger. Nothing is ever done about it,” Heckingbottom told Sky Sports.

“It’s just bang out of order and, like I say, too many times we will hear people condemn it, say ‘it shouldn’t be happening’ but nothing is done about it.”

Forest lost the second leg of the semi-final 2-1 after extra-time, making it 3-3 on aggregate. But they won the shootout after three saves by their goalkeeper Brice Samba.

They will play Huddersfield Town for a place in the Premier League on Sunday, May 29 at Wembley Stadium.

(Photo: James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

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