NEWCASTLE United bosses have vowed to take “the strongest possible action” against supporters who invaded the pitch during last night’s pre-season friendly at Darlington.
Amid “shameful” scenes, three fans were arrested and another escorted from the ground.
The incident, as celebrations of Sammy Ameobi’s 55th-minute goal by a minority of the 6,183 traveling fans turned ugly, caused a 10-minute delay.
The match looked in danger of being called off as scenes turned violent and, although calm was eventually restored, the guilty parties can expect repercussions.
Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias issued a statement, reading: “On behalf of everyone at Newcastle United FC, we wholly condemn the behaviour of a number of our supporters who invaded the pitch during the second half of the club’s friendly against Darlington.
“The club will be seeking to obtain footage of the disorder from Darlington FC and the police and will be taking the strongest possible action against those individuals responsible for the shameful behaviour.
“This behaviour is not typical of the vast majority of our fans, however this incident gives a poor impression of Newcastle United and its loyal supporters.”
Manager Alan Pardew also hit out at the pitch invaders marred the 2-0 friendly win.
Pardew went on to the pitch with assistant John Carver to try to persuade fans to stay in the stand as the PA announcer relayed a message that the game would be abandoned if there were any further pitch invasions.
Pardew was frustrated that the scenes overshadowed a positive performance from his new-look team.
Stand-in captain Joey Barton opened the scoring, and Yohan Cabaye and Mehdi Abeid made their debuts, while Hatem Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling returned from long-term injuries.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased about the game,” Pardew said. “We were excellent at times – some of our performances were really top drawer. But it was overshadowed by what happened off the pitch.
“Fifty or 60 people have spoiled it for everyone else. We’ll have to see how that pans out in terms of the FA looking at it. It’s a shame – we didn’t do anything to spark it other than score a goal. It’s sad really.”
Asked about his own efforts to calm the situation down, Pardew added: “It was important – we could have been in trouble if the game had been stopped again. At least the ones who caused the trouble listened to that. The rest of the guys were fine.”