Police have today been challenged to back up claims a steward was grappling with a Blackpool FC fan during a pitch invasion - despite video footage suggesting it was a rival supporter.
Supt Richard Morgan, of Lancashire Police, told The Gazette he believed a steward who was trampled by a police horse during the disorder at Deepdale on Monday night was trying to tackle a Seasiders fan.
However footage shows the man head back to join other Preston North End fans who ran on to the pitch at the end of the Lilywhites’ 1-0 win to celebrate in front of the 3,500 Pool fans in the Bill Shankly Kop.
Fiona Martin, vice-chairman of Blackpool Supporters Association, said: “A number of Preston North End fans have got carried away and Blackpool fans allegedly have done some damage to the stand. Both are unacceptable and we don’t condone it.
“But Lancashire Police’s statements have not helped which has left a sour taste among fans which has given us a bad reputation. We are disappointed with the statements when video evidence appears to contradict the claims.” Blackpool FC said it had asked Preston North End for evidence of alleged damage done to the Bill Shankly Kop, where seats were allegedly ripped up.
Six people were arrested following the Capital One Cup tie. Hundreds of Preston North End fans ran on to the pitch at the end of the game to celebrate their side’s victory in the first game between the sides in four years.
Under the Football Offences Act of 1991, it is an offence “for a person at a designated football match to go onto the playing area, or any area adjacent to the playing area to which spectators are not generally admitted, without lawful authority or lawful excuse.”
To date, no fans have been arrested for invading the pitch.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “As a result of early enquiries, it was believed that the man involved in the altercation with a steward may have been a Blackpool fan.
“However, we are still working to identify this person and therefore cannot, at this stage, say with absolute certainty which football club he supports.
“Anyone with any information about any of those responsible for the incidents of disorder should contact Lancashire Police on 101.”