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Three arrested after fans invade pitch following Southampton FC win over West Brom

Scuffles broke out between home fans and West Brom supporters at St Mary’s Stadium.

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Southampton fans run onto the pitch after victory in the Sky Bet Championship play-off, semi-final, second leg match at St Mary’s Stadium

Three people have been arrested after scuffles broke out when hundreds of football fans ran onto the pitch following Southampton’s Championship play-off semi-final second leg match against West Brom on Friday night.

Home fans flooded the field at St Mary’s in celebration after their club progressed to a Wembley final against Leeds with a 3-1 win in the second highest rung of the English Football League.

Trouble then flared when some supporters made their way to the end of the ground where the West Brom fans were and scuffles broke out and punches appeared to be thrown.

Fans had been urged to stay off the pitch at the full-time whistle but when thousands of people disobeyed, some of those remaining in the stands jeered.

The large stadium screen saying Anyone Entering The Pitch Will Face A Ban And Police Action’ at St Mary's
The large stadium screen warning fans to stay in their seats (Steven Paston/PA)

A Hampshire Police spokeswoman confirmed that two men from Southampton, aged 26 and 27, were arrested on suspicion of going on to the football pitch.

A 24-year-old man from Southampton was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker, using threatening behaviour and obstructing/resisting a police officer.

The force spokeswoman said: “The vast majority of fans attending the Southampton v West Brom match yesterday evening, both at the stadium itself and in venues around the city, did so responsibly and respectfully.

“There were, however, a minority contingent of fans from both clubs who sought to engage in public order offences, including entering the pitch during the match.

“We had a number of police resources in place throughout the city over the course of the evening which meant we were able to swiftly intervene and help mitigate any risk of large scale disorder.

“Because of this, instances of public order were quickly de-escalated, and proactive opportunities were taken by police to prevent incidents of wider disorder from happening altogether.

“A 27-year-old man and 26-year-old man from Southampton were arrested on suspicion of going onto the playing area at a football match.

“A 24-year-old man from Southampton was arrested on suspicion of using threatening/abusive/insulting words/behaviour to cause harassment/alarm/distress, common assault of an emergency worker and obstructing/resisting a constable in execution of duty.”

Messages on the scoreboards inside the stadium read: “The pitch is for players and the stands are for spectators. Please return to the stands so the players can celebrate.”

Southampton manager Russell Martin said afterwards: “I haven’t seen it but I think it’s unnecessary and I’m pretty sure it will be a real, real minority (taking part).

“Our fans were amazing tonight. For those who did do that, if it tarnishes the night we’ve had and the win we’ve had and getting to Wembley in any way then they’ve let themselves down.”

Southampton’s 11-year stay in the Premier League came to an end when they were relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2022/23 season.