West Brom issue warning to derby trouble culprits

Aston Villa fans invaded the pitch after the FA Cup Sixth Round match against West Brom at Villa Park
Aston Villa fans invaded the pitch after the FA Cup Sixth Round match against West Brom at Villa Park

West Brom have vowed to take strong action against any of the club’s fans found to have been involved in disturbances at the FA Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Seats were thrown from the Albion section and Villa supporters invaded the pitch twice during the game as Tim Sherwood’s men beat the Baggies 2-0 on Saturday to reach the semi-finals.

Police have made 17 arrests related to the game and a spokesperson for the Football Association told Press Association Sport its investigation into the incidents will begin on Monday.

Villa issued an apology after the game to “the Football Association, the West Bromwich Albion directors, manager Tony Pulis and all his staff and players” and Albion announced in a statement on Sunday that the apology had been “received in the spirit with which it was intended”.

“West Bromwich Albion note the public apology issued by Aston Villa FC in the wake of the disturbing scenes during and after the FA Cup quarter-final at Villa Park,” read the statement.

“The apology is received in the spirit with which it was intended.

“The club is also aware of reports of serious misbehaviour involving some of its own supporters.

“It issues an uncompromising reminder today that any supporter found guilty of disorder offences can expect the appropriate sanction from the club. West Bromwich Albion will continue to operate zero tolerance to any fans who bring the club’s reputation into disrepute.

“The club also welcomes the FA investigation into the scenes and how they came about; West Bromwich Albion will co-operate fully.

“Pitch invasions cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. The safety of the club’s players and staff during and at the end of the game was clearly compromised and that has to be a subject of deep concern for everyone involved.”

The police have also launched their own probe into a pre-match disturbance at the Witton Arms, close to Villa Park.

“We carried out a large policing operation for the FA Cup yesterday evening (March 7) to ensure supporters could enjoy the game in a safe environment,” Chief Superintendent Chris Johnson from West Midlands Police said in a statement.

“During the course of the operation 17 men were arrested for various public order offences. An investigation has been launched to identify people involved in a disturbance before the match at the Witton Arms pub.

“Anyone who saw what happened should contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

“We will also be supporting the Football Association to identify people involved in pitch invasions that happened at the end of the match.”

Among the arrests were eight people detained on suspicion of public-order offences, four on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and two on suspicion of breach of the peace, police said.

Villa fans invaded the pitch before the end of the game and then again at the final whistle while seats were thrown from the upper tier of the North Stand, where Albion fans were sitting, into the Villa crowd below during the second half.

“There is no progress on last night except the FA knows about it and intends to look into it thoroughly,” the FA spokesperson said.

West Brom boss Tony Pulis called the scenes disgraceful while Villa chief Sherwood defended the club’s stewards afterwards.

Second-half goals from Fabian Delph and Scott Sinclair won it for Villa while Claudio Yacob and Jack Grealish were sent off as both sides finished with 10 men.