NEWCASTLE United have pledged to pay out after hundreds of their fans caused more than £200 of damage at two local amateur football matches last Sunday.
The games between Wigan Cosmos and AFC Leigh, and Goose Green Reserves and Olympic FC, were both halted for 40 minutes when around 300 Newcastle supporters invaded the pitch, tearing out the netting, ripping up corner flags and swinging on the goalposts.
The matches were taking place on the fields behind the Soccerdome, next to the DW Stadium car parks.
As the Newcastle fans arrived for their game with Latics, they began to make their way onto the pitch.
At first, it was all good-natured but matters soured when a £65 football went missing, nets were ripped out and some of the supporters attempted to bend the crossbar by swinging on it.
Wigan Cosmos wrote to Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic as well as the police, who are now investigating.
They initially received a response from Newcastle saying that while the actions of those involved is condemned, they would not be contributing to the damage costs.
However, as the pictures went viral – not helped by some of those involved tweeting photos and videos – the club backtracked and released a statement saying they would cover the costs.
The vast majority of Newcastle fans were also disgusted with what they saw too. Many contacted Wigan Cosmos, offering money towards the damages.
An official Newcastle United statement said: “Newcastle United are very disappointed with the behaviour of a minority of its fans who were involved in the vandalism of equipment belonging to Wigan Cosmos Football Club and pitch incursions during their game against AFC Leigh on Sunday March 17, which caused the match to be stopped.
“Our travelling fans have a very good reputation, but the actions of a minority on this occasion were wholly unacceptable.
“Football, at all levels of the game, 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 club will be contacting Wigan Cosmos to arrange to reimburse them for the damage.”