Police under fire after Pompey fan is hurt in stadium melee

INVASION Fans on the pitch after Pompey's game at Brentford
INVASION Fans on the pitch after Pompey's game at Brentford
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A POMPEY fan has criticised police amid claims they were too heavy-handed after Saturday’s pitch invasion.

Ashley Hards, a 26-year-old postman, says he was punched by an officer as fans tried to get out of Griffin Park following the match against Brentford.

As reported yesterday, after Pompey lost the game 3-2, about 100 fans went on to the pitch.

Mr Hards lives in Brentford but has been supporting Portsmouth FC for 20 years as he has family living locally.

He did not take part in the pitch invasion.

Mr Hards, who is nursing a bruised jaw, said: ‘They were trying to get a thousand fans through one door and it was not going to happen quickly.

‘The Pompey fans were coming off the pitch and having a sing and dance in the stands.

‘All of a sudden the police came out of nowhere and were closing down the stands.

‘They started pushing us down the stairs. I said “I am trying to get down, but I can’t go any quicker”. As I turned round he punched me straight in the face.’

In the fracas, Mr Hards injured his ankle as he claims a police officer trod on his foot.

However, he was not sure whether this was intentional.

Mr Hards claims another fan who was using crutches had them taken away over fears they were being used as a weapon. He added: ‘I was in amazement. When I got outside I spoke to the chief inspector and the response I got was “It’s happened now, move on”.’

Mr Hards went to the local police station to complain and has set up a meeting later this week to discuss the matter.

Metropolitan police said three Pompey fans were arrested for separate offences of drug possession, public order and criminal damage.

A spokeswoman added: ‘We had 300 supporters on the pitch and they were not behaving aggressively. Most dispersed on their own.

‘Our officers assisted with moving about 20 to 30 people, but there was no trouble during that.’

The Football Association said no decision has been made about any sanctions following the pitch invasion.