It was an emotional rollercoaster ride at Goodison Park after Everton’s 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace last night. The last-ditch effort by Everton gave them three vital points to avoid relegation this season and guarantee the Toffees Premier League football come August.
Patrick Vieira’s side jumped to a 2-0 lead but could not maintain it in the second half. When Everton took the lead near the end of the match fans ran on to the pitch to celebrate the heroic victory. Unfortunately, some Everton supporters were caught on video saying something to Vieira as he was trying to leave the pitch and the former World Cup winner kicked a supporter and later did not comment about the situation in the post-game press conference.
In the video the fan is seen filming Vieira with his cellphone and making a hand gesture, that is when the manager reacted and kicked the supporter. Now the incident has been elevated to the authorities.
Police and FA looking into the Vieira/ Everton fan incident
As reported by the AP, police have opened an investigation into the matter on Friday, and the English FA is also looking into the incident. The Everton fan invasion was just one of many incidents where supporters stormed the field in scenes that reminded many of the worst era of English soccer.
“We are working with Everton FC to gather all available CCTV footage and are speaking to witnesses,” Merseyside police said Friday, “(Police) are investigating an altercation on the pitch at Goodison Park following the Everton v Crystal Palace match on Thursday.”
“No formal complaint has been received and enquiries into the incident are ongoing,” police authorities stated.
While there was some backlash for Vieira kicking the fan on social media, it is important to note that the French manager was trying to get away from the at fault supporters who stormed the field. Soccer pundits such as American Taylor Twellman tweeted about the dangers of this becoming too common and even mentioned the Monica Seles incident as a reminder that pitch invasion should be taken seriously.
Everton manager Frank Lampard, who Vieira coached at NYCFC in Major League Soccer, said he would have escorted his former manager off the field had he had a chance. “It was pure elation of fans who have come on the pitch after avoiding relegation,” Lampard stated after the win. “If it is done in the right way let them stay on the pitch, let them have their moment. As long as they behave, no problem.”