Football violence steals the headlines from Leeds United’s centenary week

By Thomas Reyer

Leeds United marked their centenary week with a narrow victory against Birmingham City at Elland Road, but the celebrations were overshadowed by crowd violence.

Kalvin Phillips sealed a 1-0 victory for his boyhood club when he struck in the 65th minute, lifting Leeds to second in the table.

However, towards the end of the match, it appeared that the Birmingham fans were involved in a violent altercation with Leeds United stewards and the police.

The violence began when stewards and officers attempted to apprehend a Birmingham fan who ran onto the pitch, with reports suggesting that the away fans assaulted them – causing some minor injuries.

Kane Styles, a sports journalist who has reported for multiple Birmingham outlets, said: “The scenes involving Birmingham City fans and Leeds at full time was slightly exaggerated by the media. I’ve seen the press saying it’s the worst violence they’ve seen in a decade which is nonsense.

“The stewards were heavy handed, and the Birmingham fans reacted. I saw a lad dragged onto the pitch by his neck and held down for no real reason. Birmingham and Leeds historically have caused trouble, but this was nothing out of the ordinary really.”

West Yorkshire Police stated that trouble continued outside of the ground following the match and confirmed that 10 arrests were made on the day, mainly for public order offences.

There has been a lot of debate online regarding the severity of the violence, with videos being shared appearing to show the Birmingham fans throwing cones at the Leeds fans outside the ground and multiple reports suggesting ‘missiles’ were thrown at the home fans inside the stadium.

A Leeds fan who wished to remain anonymous was seated in the homestand and said: “I was a long way away from the violence. I was in the upper tier, but I saw on Twitter that a female steward was attacked.”

The fan also took some footage of the incident from where they were sat, which visibly shows altercations between the away fans and stewards.

Leeds fan Ryan Shore said: “I haven’t seen any violence at Elland Road for quite a few years, but on Saturday some of the Birmingham fans’ behaviour was disgraceful, especially the fighting with the stewards and then taking the violence outside into the car park.”

Statistics from the 2018/19 football season indicate that Birmingham City were third on the list for the most banning orders received that season with 57.

Furthermore, Leeds United were second on the football-related arrest list with 49; the most common offence was pitch incursion with 15 arrests.

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