Chris Kirkland: Sheffield Wednesday Goalkeeper Attacked by Leeds United Fan
In what only can be described as an act of heinous stupidity, a Leeds fan charged the field and attacked Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland on Friday.
Here is exactly what happened, according to The Guardian's Neil Rowlands:
The man emerged from the away end at Hillsborough as Leeds celebrated a second-half equaliser in the Championship match between the old Yorkshire rivals, decked Kirkland with a two-handed shove to the face.
UPDATE: Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9:32 a.m. by Tyler Conway
The man in that piece was Aaron Cawley, and if message boards like this one (or the pretty solid photographic evidence) are to be believed, he's the Chris Kirkland-attacker still going unnamed in the British press.
---End of Update---
According to Rowlands, the attacker was able to jump back into the stands and avoid being apprehended by the authorities.
Following the incident, Kirkland, a 31-year-old 'keeper in his first season with Sheffield Wednesday, received medical attention before play resumed and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Regardless of Kirkland's health, the true story here stems from what seems like an epidemic of fan interference in live action. While most of these ultimately involve harmless fans just looking for attention (or to shake Lionel Messi's hand), it's situations like this that show the true danger of unruly fans.
It was just a little less than a year ago that a near-riot broke out after a fan rushed onto the field and punched a player during a Romanian football match between Steaua Bucharest and Petrolul Ploiesti.
The unbridled passion of football fans may make it the most popular sport in the world. However, league and stadium officials need to address this before something truly tragic happens.
For now, let's all be thankful that Kirkland seems to be alright and hope for the best going forward.
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