Iwan Roberts: The day I feared for my safety during a pitch invasion
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Norwich City legend Iwan Roberts speaks about the day he feared for safety on a football pitch
I get the feeling that quite a few Norwich fans missed Tim Klose’s injury time equaliser last Sunday!
I saw many fans leave Carrow Road straight after Luke Chambers powered in an 89th minute header in what every Ipswich fan all over the country thought was going to be the goal that gave them their first win over Norwich in nine years.
However, there was still time on the clock thankfully.
It was my first trip to Carrow Road this season and even though it wasn’t a classic, I really enjoyed myself.
Not since Wales beat Belgium in the quarter finals of the European Championships have I celebrated a goal like I did when Norwich equalised with virtually the last kick, well, header of the game. For a few seconds I completely lost myself – it was absolutely brilliant.
Ipswich celebrated as if they’d won the league and the FA Cup on the same day, there were flares being thrown on to the pitch, supporters taking their shirts off, all sorts were going on in that away end!
Their relief at winning an East Anglian derby was there for us all to see, let’s be honest it’s been a while since they’ve had that winning feeling against the Canaries.
To see their celebrations come to a thundering halt and the horror on their faces when my man of the match Grant Hanley chased a lost cause as he knew time was nearly up, reach the ball just before Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski and then put in a peach of a cross in for big Timm to power Norwich level was priceless!
I think every Norwich supporter at Carrow Road was laughing at their misfortune – it was brilliant.
I thought the scenes of celebrations on the pitch after said a lot. It was great to see every player and every member of Daniel Farke’s staff celebrating together. Yes, it was only a point, but what a point it was and it shows a great togetherness within the club and a magnificent team spirit which can help take you a long way.
After what happened at the end of the FA Cup tie between Wigan and Manchester City on Monday night there’s been a lot of talk about pitch invasions after hundreds of Wigan fans ran on to the pitch to celebrate their very unlikely win against Pep’s men.
I can understand why supporters do it and I haven’t got a problem with it until a small minority of fans spoil it and then things turn nasty.
That’s exactly what happened when someone allegedly spat in the face of Sergio Aguero - and then all hell broke loose!
As a player I’ve witnessed many pitch invasions and most have been good natured and friendly but one in particular was one of the scariest moments I’ve been involved in on a football pitch.
It happened after Leicester’s play-off semi-final second leg against Stoke at their old Victoria Ground which was intimidating at the best of times.
We’d drawn the first leg 0-0 at Filbert Street and Stoke who finished third that season thought it was tie over. But we beat them 1-0 in the second leg and went on to play Crystal Palace in the final in 1995.
As the final whistle went, hundreds of Stoke fans ran on to the pitch from three sides of the stadium which meant we couldn’t get anywhere near the tunnel to get into our changing room. We all retreated to our own penalty box in front of about 3,000 Leicester supporters. The Stoke players had disappeared into the tunnel and their fans wanted our blood.
It was shocking, things being thrown at us, we were being spat at, some of the lads took a few punches and to be fair some of us threw a few back.
Three or four of the lads joined the safe haven behind the goal where all our supporters were. It wasn’t until a few minutes had passed when the police and stewards cordoned a little quarter of the pitch off did we start feeling safe again.
We were out there for about 30 minutes until the mounted police managed to force all those Stoke fans back into the terraces and out of the stadium.
Only then did we feel it was okay to make our way into the tunnel and finally into our changing room where the celebrations began, albeit muted ones after what we’d just been through.
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