Mass brawl as Weymouth fan invades pitch at Wessex Stadium

A FOOTBALL fan started a mass brawl at a Weymouth match after running on to the pitch to confront an opposition player.

The pitch invader, who is believed to be a relative of one of the Weymouth players, jumped over the hoardings and on to the field at the final whistle at the Wessex Stadium on Saturday.

Punches were thrown in the fracas after the Terras lost 2-1 to relegation rivals Weston-super-Mare, conceding two goals in the 88th and 91st minute.

Stewards, players and club officials intervened in the melee to try and restore order. Weston-super-Mare striker Jermaine Clarke – who scored both goals to sink the Terras – was shown a post-match red card for his part in the fracas.

Weymouth caretaker player-manager Andy Harris, who was on the touchline, told how the trouble broke out. He said: “There had been a little bit of verbal beforehand. But the fan took it upon himself to clamber over the wall and get on the pitch, which was completely out of order. There is always a bit of banter between supporters and players but to cross that white line is shocking really.

Eye-witnesses told how ‘all hell broke loose’ after the man jumped on to the pitch. One supporter, who did not wish to be named, said: “The fan leaped over the wall and started having a go at the Weston-super-Mare player. Both teams got involved and all hell broke loose.

Another supporter said: “I saw someone jump on to the pitch and then being dragged off.

Supporter Idris Martin, who saw the aftermath of the trouble, added: “I just saw a mass brawl at the end of the game. The stewards had to try and separate everybody.

Weymouth FC have said they will be imposing a lifetime ban on the man who ran onto the pitch.

Club spokesman Gary Calder said: “We don’t see people who go on to the pitch and punch the opposition as supporters and we will be taking action against that person.

Mr Calder added: “We have been told it was his first time at the Wessex Stadium and, unfortunately, it will also be his last. We have to be seen as doing the right thing and I do not think any supporter at the football club wants to see incidents like this happen. It was allegedly the father of one of the players.

Shaun Hennessey, a former director of the club, was also at the ground when the trouble broke out.He said: “The consequences are pretty dire for the football club. =With the club having been through such a traumatic week, it was meant to be the start of the new Weymouth Football Club so it is such a shame that this has happened. It’s a complete disaster and the football club will probably be fined pretty heavily.

Mr Calder said that the referee will send a report to the FA who will then ask the club for their observations and, until that process has gone through, the prospect of a fine is still unknown.

A Dorset Police spokesman said that officers were not involved in the policing of the match and they were not called to the scene. The spokesman said that no arrests had been made in connection with the incident.

Dorset Echo
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