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Leeds identify missile throwing fans as the club faces an FA enquiry
Tuesday, 22nd Feb 2022 22:41 by Tim Whelan

The Football Association have announced they will be investigating Sunday’s incident when Manchester United’s Anthony Elanga was struck by a missile, and those responsible now face the prospect of a lifetime ban from Elland Road.

The trouble came during the second half when Fred scored to restore Man U’s 3-2 lead, and as they ran across to celebrate in front of their own section of fans, Elanga was hit by an object that was thrown from the South Stand. Though he wasn’t seriously injured and recovered in time to score the fourth goal that put the game beyond our reach in the closing stages.

As expected, it was a fractious encounter both on and off the pitch, with the Man U fans setting the tone by provoking us with a Turkish flag on the top deck of a bus taking them to Elland Road. They’ve obviously forgotten their own difficult trip to Istanbul in 1993, when a good number of their fans suffered at the hands of the Turkish police.

There was the usual exchange of unpleasantries inside the stadium, and the visiting fans celebrated their goals by letting off flares. On the field there were a few tackles flying in, and Ralf Rangnick could be in trouble after coming onto the field during one flashpoint. Though in case I have some sympathy as he was trying to separate the players, so it would be idiotic to punish him for doing that.

In total nine people were arrested during the game, one for breaching a previous banning order, though the police said there was "no significant disorder". That was partly because a group of 70 Man U fans who turned up in Leeds without tickets and were swiftly identified and issued with section 35 dispersal notices, so they didn’t get anywhere near Elland Road.

And the number of arrests is likely to rise, as a statement on the club’s official website today says that CCTV footage identifying the fans has been passed to West Yorkshire Police. "These people do not represent our loyal fanbase. There is no hiding from the fact that this is not the first incident of this kind experienced at Elland Road this year”.

"Not only do these people face criminal prosecution, but they will also be banned from attending Leeds United games pending the outcome of the police investigation, they will then be subjected to lifetime bans if found guilty." At least that might free up a few season tickets for some of the many other fans who are desperate to get hold of them.

The previous incident the statement referred to was against Brentford before Christmas, though on that occasion Canos was guilty of intentionally provoking our fans after scoring, and exaggerating the extent of the injury he suffered after being hit. There were also a couple of bottles launched in the direction of Everton’s Séamus Coleman at Goodison in our last away game.

It’s time for those responsible to wake up to the fact that in this technologically advanced age they are not going to get away with throwing missiles, so there is no point in over-reacting to what they see in the pitch and getting themselves and the club into trouble.


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