WATCH: Steward kicks out to trip jubilant Pompey fans
A steward has been criticised for kicking out and tripping Pompey fans racing onto the pitch to celebrate promotion.
Footage of the man was posted on YouTube by a fan at Notts County after Pompey’s 3-1 win clinched a place in League One next season.
The Midlands club - widely praised for its hospitality towards more than 4,000 Pompey supporters who packed one side of the Meadow Lane ground for the match on Easter Monday - says it is upset by what happened and has passed footage to the steward’s firm for investigation.
On the final whistle hundreds poured onto the pitch past a line of stewards and police officers to celebrate a famous victory.
It is a criminal offence for any spectator to go onto the pitch without good reason, but sheer weight of numbers meant that the vast majority were able to do so unopposed.
The YouTube footage though shows several Pompey fans at one end of the stand being manhandled by police and stewards to stop them getting onto the playing area.
And one steward is filmed standing several yards back from the touchline and then kicking out his foot at the last moment to trip fans running past him at full pelt.
His actions have been criticised, with one Notts County fan heard to shout on the YouTube video ‘He’s kicking them, look!’ and ‘Leave them alone.’
A Pompey fan who pointed out the footage to The News said: ‘It might have been done in the heat of the moment, but he clearly gave fans no warning of what he was going to do.
‘One moment they were running at full tilt, the next a leg had been kicked out to trip them as they hurtled by.
‘Okay, they shouldn’t actually have been on the pitch, but it was a spontaneous and joyous show of excitement by supporters and for a steward to do something so dangerous was completely disproportionate.’
Another supporter who saw the video posted on an online message board: ‘That’s disgraceful. Once there are more than a few hundred on the pitch they shouldn’t act like that.
‘It could have caused some serious injury when they are randomly kicking the fans to trip them up.’
And on the same board, one Pompey fan commented: ‘It’s interesting though that there are videos from the other end of the pitch, showing that the police and stewards there tried to stop the first 50 or so getting on the pitch but then seemed to decide the fans were not going to cause any trouble, so let them celebrate.’
A Notts County spokesman said: ‘The steward involved works for a third-party organisation who were providing additional resource on the day.
‘The club have provided footage to that organisation, who will be conducting their own investigation to identify the individual concerned so that they can be dealt with appropriately.
‘Notts County chairman Alan Hardy is upset that any supporter could be subjected to such action and stressed the club has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to such matters.’