85-year-old football fan from Bedford ‘lucky not to lose an eye’ during pitch invasion

"There was blood all down his face” says grandson

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 12:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 4:23 pm

An 85-year-old Bedford great grandad was hit in the head by a coin during an ugly incident at the Huddersfield-Luton match last night.

Daniel Bennett says his grandfather Trevor Emery was lucky not to lose an eye after a pitch invasion by the home fans after Monday’s game.

And he has hit out at stewards and West Yorkshire Police who he says were more concerned with keeping Luton fans in check than dealing with the intimidation from Huddersfield fans.

"At the end of the game Huddersfield fans ran onto the pitch and started goading us,” Daniel said. “Some of the Luton players came over to thank the fans and some of them got slapped.

“The fans came right up to the barriers, as close as they could and they were mooning us and throwing bottles. My grandad was hit with a coin just as we were about to leave but the police had no interest, they were just smirking at us.

"There was all blood coming down his face but the stewards were just interested in keeping us back. We got no help from the police they just pushed me.”

The duo were helped by a St John’s Ambulance worker but had to walk through the Huddersfield fans to get to the medical station and Daniel says some of them were laughing at them.

Trevor Emery was injured during the Huddersfield-Luton match

"They could have taken his eye out,” he said. “He is really shaken up. He has seen the odd occurrence of violence but never had people pelting coins at him.”

Trevor, a former plumber, from Bedford, has been a fan of Luton Town for more than 75 years, and he and Daniel have been going since Daniel was five.

"I just hope it won’t put him off going to matches,” he said. “It breaks my heart just telling you this. I just want the person found and banned.”

The majority of the Hatters players and staff were unable to go over to the Luton fans to thank them for their support after the game due to the pitch invasion. Several players were confronted and goaded by the home fans who had spilled onto the pitch at the full-time whistle of the Terriers’ 1-0 play-off semi-final second leg win.

Huddersfield fans invaded the pitch goading Luton fans

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After the match Luton boss Nathan Jones slammed the Huddersfield supporters’ actions. He said: “The fans were an absolute disgrace. We won’t complain because football fans are like that, some of them are idiots.

“But they didn’t paint Huddersfield Town as a good club, in terms of how they were.

“They’ve won the game, go and celebrate with your players, celebrate something wonderful, instead, they were more concerned with obscene gestures.

“I’ve seen little kids, I’ve seen a mother with a little kid. If that was my wife I’d be disgusted. They approached me, abused me and did stuff to me.

"Some were okay, some congratulated us, but they haven’t painted Huddersfield Town in a good light after that.

“But, that’s minor individuals, not everyone would’ve been a pure Huddersfield fan.

"They might’ve turned up tonight because that’s probably the biggest crowd Huddersfield have had this season, some of them might not be true Huddersfield fans, I don’t know.

“I don’t understand, go and celebrate with your players, but they were more concerned with taunting and abusing our fans, and filming it. That logic, I don’t get.”

And the Hatters said on Twitter afterwards: “The directors, staff and players are immensely proud of the travelling support and, more importantly, your behaviour after the game. You were respectful to the opposition and impeccably behaved despite being goaded.”

A spokesman for Luton Town said the club was “appalled” after seeing the picture of Trevor shared on social media by his grandson and immediately contacted Daniel to check that he was OK.

He added: “Trevor is one of our longest standing John Moore Lounge members and, along with the rest of our magnificent travelling support, wanted to show his appreciation to Nathan and the team for their outstanding performance at the John Smith’s Stadium and over the season as a whole.

"We are so sorry that they were denied the opportunity to do that, the players and staff more than anyone. But we are proud of the way our supporters conducted themselves in the face of some severe provocation and, in Trevor’s case, physical harm.

“We have contacted Trevor today to make sure he is well and assure him that we will be pursuing the matter, along with several others, with the police, Huddersfield and the EFL.”

Kirklees Police are appealing for information following the incident, with officers reviewing CCTV and conducting enquiries today.

Anyone who has information or phone footage which can assist police enquiries is asked to contact West Yorkshire Police on 101 referencing police log 358 of May 12.

Huddersfield Town has been approached for comment.

> Were you at the game? What is your view on what happened afterwards? Email here.