Kirkland shocked by fan attack
Sheffield Wednesday keeper Chris Kirkland has spoken of his shock at being attacked by a Leeds fan during the Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough.
Kirkland was attacked after Michael Tonge's 76th-minute equaliser for Leeds. The fan shoved him strongly in the face with both hands, knocking him over.
The suspect has been identified by the police but has yet to be arrested. He has been named on social media sites but not by the police.
The Football Association confirmed it is investigating the incident and is awaiting the referee's report.
Former England keeper Kirkland said in a statement released by Wednesday: "I was gutted with conceding the goal and had my head down as I kicked the ball down the field so we could restart the game.
"I was looking at the ground but when I looked up, I caught a glimpse of someone coming towards me on the pitch.
"I thought he was going to give me some abuse but then suddenly he came at me with both hands and I was stunned.
"I felt the full force and I was just shocked because you never know what could have been in his hands."
Kirkland was treated by Wednesday's medical team and was able to complete the match.
He continued: "I was sore and, as I say, really shocked at what had happened.
"My mind then turned to the possibility of winning the game because we had played ever so well and there was still 15 minutes to go.
"The rest of the game flew by and then the final whistle came, the adrenalin goes and you reflect on something like that and it was scary.
"I thought of my family watching something like that and it was not a nice feeling to think my daughter saw me assaulted like that.
"I just want the authorities to look at what happened and take the appropriate action because sooner or later, we could be talking about something even more serious."
The shocking scenes were broadcast live on Sky Sports and fans were quick to condemn the trouble on Twitter and Facebook. That led to a suspect being named on sites, and a mobile phone number being circulated.
South Yorkshire Police's senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Mark Monteiro, said: "With the public's assistance we have clearly identified the offender who ran on to the pitch during last night's game between Sheffield Wednesday FC and Leeds United FC and who is suspected of assaulting the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper.
"We are dealing with the complaint made by the player and we are currently taking statements, collating evidence and making inquiries to locate and arrest the offender.
"We are also using CCTV footage from around the ground to identify suspects who may have been responsible for other offences before, during or after the match.
"I'd like to thank the supporters and general public who have provided information and assisted with our inquiries."
An FA spokesman said: "The FA condemns the scenes at Hillsborough last night. We have begun an immediate investigation and have been in contact with both clubs.
"We would call for the authorities to identify and bring before the courts anyone who was involved in any form of criminal disorder."
There were five arrests for various offences including public order before and after the game, while three people were ejected from the ground and 12 were subject to dispersal orders.
Leeds issued a statement after the game pledging to identify the man involved in the incident.
It read: "Leeds United Football Club would like to publicly apologise and condemn the action of the fan who came on the pitch and attacked Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.
"The club will fully co-operate with the police and the football authorities in identifying the individual concerned.
"After the week football has endured there is no place for this type of behaviour and the majority of Leeds supporters will be ashamed of his actions."
The match was marred by vicious chanting from some Leeds fans about Wednesday manager Dave Jones, who was cleared of child abuse allegations in 2000.
Wednesday fans replied with songs about two Leeds fans killed in Turkey in April 2000. Leeds supporters responded by throwing bottles on to the field and clashing with police.
Jones called for Leeds fans to be banned from "every away ground".
He went on: "You talk about racism, the chanting, that's a form of racism. And then (for the Leeds players) to go and wave at them... not in my book. You don't wave at them after that.
"I thought it had gone out of our game. The authorities have to look at it and sort it. I'm talking about an incident when we should be talking about the football. We're talking about vile animals. That's what they are. We talk about racism, but that, we need to sort that."
Leeds manager Neil Warnock said: "It's just so sad and disappointing. The club has made a statement and I'm pleased, we don't condone that. I hope the authorities and constabulary take the appropriate action. Get him sent to prison and stop it."
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.