A TEENAGE SAFC fan desperately wants to say sorry to Niall Quinn for his “moment of madness”.
Ross Miller was branded a disgrace after he ran on to the pitch and seemingly pushed NUFC goalkeeper Steve Harper, after Asamoar Gyan’s last-minute equaliser in Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby.
The 17-year-old and his dad Gary Miller have sent a letter of apology to Sunderland, hoping to avoid Ross being banned from the club.
“We are just praying it doesn’t happen,” said the 42-year-old HGV driver.
“Ross is football mad. He is 100 per cent Sunderland. He eat, sleeps and drinks Sunderland.”
Yesterday, he drove Ross to Newcastle’s training ground in Benton to offer his apologies to Harper and the club.
Although the players were not there as it was a day off, Harper was made aware of the visit by the teenager, and NUFC officials were “impressed” by the effort he made to go to the club.
Miller was arrested on suspicion of entering the field of play and later released on police bail until March, pending further inquiries.
SAFC said it could not comment while legal proceedings were ongoing, but added that anyone arrested for a football-related incident is automatically banned as part of their bail conditions until the case is completed.
Mr Miller said he was “gobsmacked” when he saw his son Ross being escorted off the pitch.
“We were both coming out of the ground but as soon as Sunderland scored, 50,000 people went mad jumping about.
“When it had died down I looked to my right, and Ross was gone.
“I looked down to the pitch and there he was, I couldn’t believe it.
“I sprinted down after him but by the time I got there he was being marched off the pitch past Steve Bruce.
“At that time I didn’t know there had been any incident with Steve Harper.”
Mr Miller added: “We are not that type of people and we’ve never been in trouble before.
“It was actually Ross’s idea to apologise and I wanted to show the clubs that it was just a moment of madness and he is very very sorry.”
They are lifelong Sunderland fans. Mr Miller has been a season ticket holder for 20 years while his own father, Bobby, has held one for 50 years.
There were 33 people arrested in relation to Sunday’s match, which saw fans rip up seats to use as missiles.
However, SAFC are unlikely to be charged by the Football Association over the trouble. The FA is currently collating reports from the game, including from their own crowd control adviser and referee Howard Webb.
However, the pitch invader being quickly identified and arrested means the club is unlikely to face FA sanctions, such as a fine or playing behind closed doors.
That only happens on rare occasions, if clubs are deemed to have neglected their duty.
The last time was when West Ham United and Millwall were charged following a Carling Cup match at Upton Park, in 2008.