Masked gang attack on coach at football ground 'is a disgrace'
A football chief has described a mask gang attack on an assistant coach at a football ground that took place in front of frightened children as 'an absolute disgrace'.
Masked men burst onto the pitch, in Seaham Town Park, as players warmed up ahead of the Northern League Division One game between Seaham Red Star and Sunderland RCA match yesterday evening (August 28).
He said: "I’ve never known anything like this in my 25 years and I hope I never see it again.
"Seaham Red Stars had mascots and ball boys there, it must have been so frightening for them."
Witnesses said eight masked men stormed into the ground armed with golf clubs and attacked an assistant coach on the pitch less than half an hour before the game was due to kick off .
Durham FA are now investigating the incident and have spoken to both clubs and match officials.
Mr Topping said: "It’s a good sturdy ground at Seaham where you have to pay to get in, you wouldn’t expect to see this at an open park.
"They've picked out this person and they've known who he is."
He added: “[The attackers] knew he was going to be there at this time and used the opportunity of a football match to get some kind of vengeance which is quite likely to be away from football."
The match, although delayed, went ahead and Seaham Red Star FC lost the match 5-0.
But credit has been given to the players who chose to compete in the game despite what happened.
Mr Topping said: "When you go out on a Tuesday night to go watch a game of football and you have to witness this. Credit goes to both teams who wanted to continue.
“[The attackers] didn’t win in terms of abandoning the match. Credit goes to both teams, who will have seen what happened, and carried on anyway.”
Police officers were called to the incident and an investigation is currently ongoing.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting reference number 383 of August 28, 2018.