HUNDREDS of Newcastle United fans have been accused of storming an amateur football game in a 40-minute rampage.
Supporters invaded the pitch at the ground next to Wigan’s DW Stadium before ripping off nets and hanging from the goalposts.
In videos posted online, supporters can be heard singing, “We do what we want, we’re Newcastle United, we do what we want”. Some fans later boasted about the trouble they caused – including stealing a £65 match ball – on social networking sites.
Trouble flared when as many as 300 Newcastle supporters got off coaches and wandered across to watch Wigan Cosmos play AFC Leigh Centurions in the South Lancashire Counties League.
A spokesman for non-league Cosmos has criticised the Magpies fans and said they caused disruption and damage.
In a statement released on their website, the spokesman said: “As the supporters spilled out of the coaches, which were not managed by the club or police officials, they proceeded to watch the game from the touchline.
“Some fans then chose to run on to the field of play, dropping their pants, causing the game to be stopped. The situation then magnified as a crowd of around 250-300 Newcastle United fans followed suit.
“Although good-natured at first, the fans then started to rip out corner flags as they ran over the pitches and also took the match ball.
“We never recovered the ball, though we did manage to recover the corner flags. The so-called fans then decided to charge over to the adjacent pitch where Goose Green Reserves were entertaining Olympic AFC in another South Lancashire Counties fixture.
“They again began by ripping out the corner flags. The fans then charged into the goalmouth, jumping on to the goalposts in an attempt to snap the crossbar with the sheer numbers clambering on them.
“They then started to rip the nets from the posts, tearing them and trying to take them. Our players helped to retrieve the nets.
“After spending quite some time singing and hanging on the goalposts, the fans then ran back over to our pitch whilst singing ’We’re Newcastle United, we’ll do what we want’.”
It has emerged that a band of Newcastle fans, spearheaded by a writer from True Faith magazine, have set up a fund to help the Cosmos team.
Fans can donate by accessing the Cosmos website at www.wigancosmos.co.uk and entering their homepage.
A spokesman for the fund said: “Real fans care about grassroots football and Sunday League and it’s important people know that not all Newcastle fans are like the ones who caused trouble.”
In a statement released yesterday, a Newcastle United spokeswoman said: “We are very disappointed with the behaviour of a minority of its fans who were involved in the vandalism of equipment.
“Our travelling fans have a very good reputation, but the actions of a minority on this occasion were wholly unacceptable.
“Football deserves the same degree of respect whether it is played in the Premier League or at the grassroots level.
“We were sorry to learn that this South Lancashire Counties Premier Division game was disrupted in this manner and we would urge anyone who witnessed this incident to contact Greater Manchester Police.”
The Newcastle fans disrupted the amateur matches being played near the away end of Wigan Athletic’s DW Stadium.
It came prior to Newcastle’s 2-1 loss to Wigan, which was overshadowed by the fall-out from a tackle on the Toon’s Massaido Haidara by Callum McManaman.
The young Frenchman was stretchered off after the Wigan striker’s challenge, which has been widely condemned but will not be punished by the FA.
Cosmos put the cost of replacing the ball and the damaged nets at £200 and a spokesman said more damage was done to corner flags.
A further statement on Newcastle’s Twitter feed thanked those fans who had reacted positively to last weekend’s disturbances and pledged to reimburse Wigan Cosmos.