Latics fans attacked after watching match

The footbridge over the canal at the rear of the DW Stadium
The footbridge over the canal at the rear of the DW Stadium

POLICE are urging Latics fans to help them identify Southampton supporters responsible for post-match violence which erupted on Saturday.

Following the game a number of away supporters approached the canal footbridge which connects the DW Stadium area to Miry Lane.

Eyewitnesses and police have described punches being thrown, while some Saints fans hurled bricks and other items at startled home supporters, many of whom were women and children. The area wasn’t patrolled by police at the time.

Officers have since reviewed CCTV footage and say the rogue fans can be seen approaching the area before throwing items towards the Wigan supporters.

To make matters worse, some of the Southampton contingent took to Twitter to brag about the incident. One appeared to boast about attacking two Wigan fans.

A genuine supporter of the south coast club was quick to condemn the actions of the minority, telling him he was ashamed of the group, only to be responded to with: “You are the only one calling me an embarrassment! Tell that to the other 50 people I went with!”

Latics fan Tom Smith, who was crossing the bridge, said: “Around 40 to 50 Southampton fans came. Some tried to get on the bridge and others walked under it along the canal.

“Then there was a bit of pushing and shoving as I got onto the bridge, next thing I know Southampton fans from ground level were throwing stuff at the bridge like coins, bottles and stones.

“Some were spitting too. It’s a joke really, there were no police around at all which surprised me really, there usually is.”

A Wigan Athletic spokesman said the club was aware of the incident and the reason for the lack of police presence near the bridge was that the risk of trouble was believed to be low.

He said: “Having reviewed Southampton fans in recent games, there was nothing to suggest any expectation of violence. There was also no trouble at recent Wigan Athletic games where the presence was also low.

“This unfortunate instance is rare. In total, there were 10 ejections from the ground.”

The incident, fortunately an isolated one for football in Wigan, was reported to the police who attended the footbridge.

A GMP spokesman said: “We were called to the scene and found 20 to 30 people throwing items.

“CCTV shows groups of opposing supporters throwing items towards innocent and genuine fans. No arrests were made and there were no injuries of massive concern.”

Hampshire police have also confirmed that they are looking into the situation.

Information, including comments made on social networking sites, have been passed onto them as evidence to assist them with their inquiries.

They have also spoken to various Wigan fans who were present at the time of the incident and have urged any more to come forward with any information.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: “We are reviewing the evidence sent to us by Greater Manchester Police and Hampshire officers have been in touch with aggrieved parties from Wigan.

“We would advise anyone who was a victim and who has not contacted the police to contact GMP as soon as possible.”