The wife of a football fan who was hospitalised after being attacked at Walsall railway station has spoken out about the “malicious and premeditated” assault.
The 56-year-old victim, a Portsmouth fan, was left with a broken jaw and needing two metal plates following the match between the Saddlers and Portsmouth on Friday.
The wife of the retired chartered surveyor, from Addlestone in Surrey, said the attack was sparked by a man grabbing her hat and her husband chasing after him to ask for it back.
Posting on a message board at website upthesaddlers.com, she said beforehand they had spent the day in Walsall visiting museums and pubs and parked at the railway station. She said: “We’d had a lovely day, talked to quite a few local people about things other than football as we are just generally interested in all sorts of things about places we visit. We own a narrowboat so hope to revisit the Birmingham area some time.”
She said when her husband confronted the man who took her hat, a group of young fans aged around 18 to 25 began throwing punches and kicking him.
She added: “It all lasted for less than say two or three minutes. Enough time for him to have been dragged or pushed down by sheer weight of numbers on to the ground. He had tried to defend himself, so yes, he threw a few punches back as any man would trying to defend himself against overwhelming odds.”
She said he was kicked to the jaw while he was sitting against a wall.
“Had my husband not seen it coming and moved his head slightly he might have lost an eye or sustained far more serious injuries than he did,” she said.
“He is 56 and old enough to be their grandfather. There were around 20 of them so he was hardly likely to provoke them even if he had a mind to for God’s sake. My husband is a kind, decent, gentle man who didn’t deserve this.”
She made a plea for anyone with information about the attackers to come forward.
An investigation has been launched by British Transport Police and officers are trawling CCTV footage.
The attack happened at about 10.15pm. Walsall took on Portsmouth at the Banks’s Stadium on Friday.
The victim was released from hospital on Sunday evening.
Pc Colin Barlow, Walsall football intelligence officer, said today: "We're requesting any witnesses to the incident or any information as to who is responsible for this attack to come forward."
Contact British Transport Police on 0800 405040 ref: 79 of 5/1/13 Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.