Bruce condemns pitch invader
Steve Bruce has praised the Sunderland fans who helped identify a pitch invader who confronted Steve Harper.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 16/01/11 6:37pm
Steve Bruce has praised the Sunderland fans who helped identify the pitch invader who confronted Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper.
A home fan ran from behind the goal and appeared to push Harper to the ground in the immediate aftermath of Asamoah Gyan's injury-time equaliser in Sunday's 1-1 draw.
Tensions were also high at the full-time whistle at the Stadium of Light, where police formed a human barrier to separate opposing fans, who hurled objects at each other.
Referee Howard Webb is believed to have spotted the intruder, who was arrested, and is expected to include the incident in his report to hand to the Football Association.
Bruce caught a glimpse from the touchline and condemned the individual Sunderland fan before hailing the actions of his fellow-fans for aiding police in making the arrest.
Bruce said: "All I saw was Steve Harper on the floor. I didn't know what had happened at the time.
"I would like say a 'well done' to the Sunderland fans who gave the kid up - and he is a kid, that's what I can't understand either, the age of the lad.
"But the Sunderland fans gave him up, and rightly so. He's in police custody as we speak.
"The one thing we are up here, we love the football and the passion and all the rest of it, but you don't need to see any scenes like that.
"I hope they ban the kid for a long, long time because he deserves it.
"When I saw the age of him, I just really can't understand society today. What goes through his mind when we have just scored with a minute to go?
"Why the hell he has got to come on to the pitch and confront Steve Harper baffles me.
"When you see the age of this young kid, it is quite remarkable how has got that in his mind, to run on to the pitch.
"Why don't you just celebrate with 50-odd thousand like everybody else did? Unfortunately, it is a sad indictment of where we are with the youth of today.
"He's a kid. It's ridiculous."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew also voiced his disapproval, but was happy that Harper had not suffered any injury.
He said: "When you get a last-minute goal in a derby match, there is going to be an over-reaction from everybody, perhaps, you could argue.
"That particular fan, that shouldn't happen, as we know. He got over-exuberant.
"I think he pushed him [Harper] in the back. I don't think there was anything malicious about it.
"I don't really want to harp on about the incident towards the end of the game. When you get a last-minute goal like that, passions are running high and people have to control themselves.
"That is, of course, out of our control, but the two sets of players conducted themselves well, and that's what we will take from the game.
"Harps said he barged him in the back. When I first saw it, I thought it was an uglier incident, if I am honest.
"It didn't look a good incident, but I don't think it was that bad in terms of hurting Harps or anything. No punch or anything like that was thrown."