Date:Thursday November 16 2006
Blackburn Rovers cult hero Noel Brotherston's son Lee, a life-long Rovers fan has told of his terrible ordeal during the game with Manchester United at Ewood Park on Saturday.
Lee, whose father Noel amassed 369 appearances in his decade long spell with Rovers, was spat and sworn at before being ejected from the ground after being mistaken for a United supporter.
Sitting in the Blackburn End with his cousin Jonathan Taylor and visiting friend Thomas Tucker things took a turn for the worse when Jonathan took a souvenir picture of the United players celebrating the goal in front of them. Fans nearby noticed and the abuse started. Lee tried to explain who he was but things snowballed out of control and all three were asked to leave by stewards. Speaking in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph Lee said:
"A girl in the front row started shouting that we were United fans.
"I butted in and said he was with me and she got her dad and he started swearing at us.
"The next thing I knew it erupted around us.
"They were spitting and throwing drinks at us and we could have been quite badly hurt.
"We were shepherded out and we spoke to police outside who apologised to us but said they couldn't let us go back in there.
"I was very upset and still am. I've been going since I was a lad.
"I've been a mascot a few times especially when my dad was playing.
'It was very frightening. It was like being in the middle of a lynch mob.
"I've been a Rovers fan all my life and my dad played for them for a long time. I don't blame the Blackburn End though, they are going to react if they think a United fan is there.
"I won't stop going but it depends on how the club react and I'd like to see something done about it."
Lee is now looking for a refund on the tickets and wants an investigation to find out the identity of the instigators of the event. Blackburn Rovers stadium manager John Newsham has confirmed the club will be doing this:
"Lee and his cousin were wrongly identified by someone in the Blackburn End as opposing supporters.
"They were escorted away from the situation and potential problems by the police and stewards for safety reasons.
"We have since spoken to Lee and his family and the matter is under further investigation."
Noel Brotherston who scored 54 goals in his 369 appearances for Rovers after arriving from Tottenham Hotspur in 1977 before leaving for Bury in 1987 was capped 27 times by Northern Ireland before becoming a painter and decorator in Blackburn. He would have turned 50 next week, having died of a heart-attack in May 1995 aged 38 which is what made the incident even more hurtful for Lee.
As Lee himself says you can to a degree understand why the fans would have been angry but this is not the sort of crowd reaction we want to hear about to the son of a Rovers hero or otherwise. Hopefully those responsible will be found out and punished accordingly…
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Date:Thursday November 16 2006
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