A PLAYER who was sent off for tackling a streaker in a crucial game is likely to have his red card quashed.
The Blue Square South game between Havant and Waterlooville and Dorchester last night descended into farce when the mankini wearing fan ran on to the pitch and disrupted play for just over a minute.
Dorchester player/manager Ashley Vickers wrestled the streaker to the floor and was then promptly shown the red card by referee David Spain while players on both sides protested.
The FA have refused to comment on the matter because of the potential for an appeal but a source within the FA told The News the sending off was likely to be rescinded as soon as possible.
Vickers said after the match: ‘I’m dumbfounded and speechless. A guy ran on to the pitch without any of the stewards getting near him and I thought I was doing them a favour.
‘My only thought was to get hold him so we could get on with the game. I managed to grab him and bring him to the ground and the funny thing was the stewards actually thanked me for it.
‘But the ref decided to send me off and it beggars belief. Their players told the ref not to send me off and their chairman even offered to take a player off to even things up.
‘The ref lost the game after that and he knew he had made a great error by the reaction of Havant’s players and management. In hindsight I perhaps shouldn’t have done it but hindsight is a wonderful thing. I’m sure people will crucify me for this but I have broad shoulders.’
Hawks secretary and director Trevor Brock said: ‘I believe it was done for a bet.
‘It was unfortunate that Ashley Vickers got sent off but the referee acted by the letter of the law. Our stewards came on the pitch but they are middle aged and had a bit of trouble getting him. So he (Vickers) did us a favour but he did it with such force the ref considered it violent conduct.
‘A player nor anyone else in football is allowed to dish out justice apart from the referee.. You can’t take the law into your own hands. The ref did what he had to do which is unfortunate because most people would see it as unfair. But he had no choice.’
The scores were level at West Leigh park when the man invaded the pitch. The visitors ended the match with eight men after Jake Sweeton and Kyle Critcheel were sent off.
Speaking about the moment the streaker ran onto the pitch wearing nothing but a mankini and a wig, Mr Brock said: ‘I think it was one of the funniest things ever seen on a football ground, that’s the general opinion. It was a very, very cold night.
‘But the moment he went on there he was in trouble. We will now have our own investigation but we know we will be charged with misconduct by spectators. That’s standard practice. But at last night’s game we had 500 in and a dozen stewards which is normally enough. Even if we had 120 stewards on the pitch how do you stop a spectator getting on? ‘I think the FA will be more interested in what we are doing about it to stop it happening again. That’s why we’re dealing with it severely. We don’t want it happening again and interrupting the game.’
The game ended 3-1 to the Hawks.
Do you know who the streaker is? Call reporter Elise Brewerton on 023 9249 2444 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org