Newcastle United Supporters Trust start crowdfunding appeal for arrested fans
Last Updated: 20/03/19 1:11pm
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust has started a crowdfunding appeal to try to raise money to pay the legal fees of fans arrested at the Bournemouth game.
Visiting supporters spilled on to the pitch while celebrating Matt Ritchie's stoppage-time equaliser which secured a 2-2 draw for Rafael Benitez's side at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
It is alleged one female steward sustained an injury to her nose during the alleged incident and police inquiries are underway to ascertain whether an assault took place.
Five Newcastle fans were charged for running onto the pitch and are due to appear at Poole Magistrates' Court on April 2.
A 14-year-old boy, who was arrested on suspicion of running onto the pitch, was released under investigation while inquiries continue, while an 18-year-old man from Durham, who was arrested on suspicion of going onto the pitch and assault, was released without charge.
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust say they are raising money to contribute towards the "basic legal and travel costs" of the fans who were arrested.
"We feel these fans are guilty of nothing but celebrating a goal in the 94th minute of a game," a statement on the GoFundme page said.
"It is important to distance genuine crowd trouble and people seeking to enter the field of play to disrupt a game or attack players, and jubilant celebrations before a 350 mile home trip.
"Having spoken to most of the families of the arrested fans - there was no intention to commit a criminal act. No players were harmed. No home supporters taunted."
The statement added: "Fans surged forwards at one of the smallest grounds ever to host Premier League football and for a matter of seconds were on the pitch.
"We would like to support these fans who are facing banning orders and potential criminal records by raising contributions for their basic legal fees and basic travel costs as the hearings will take place in Dorset.
"If any of the families or individuals feel unable to accept the fees or their charges are dropped before they have to travel or pay for legal expenses, then this money will be donated to charity and the charity of choice paid with a proof of public payment."