‘We were targeted’, claims Luton Town fan pepper sprayed and hit by police in ‘unacceptable’ scenes at Fulham match

A Luton Town fan has said he might boycott London away games after being caught up in violent scenes at Fulham’s ground on Monday.

By Lynn Hughes
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 10:42 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 10:57 am

The man, in his 50s, who does not want to be named, says he was beaten and pepper sprayed by police as he enjoyed a peaceful pint just before the half-time whistle at the Craven Cottage ground.

He says he noticed a crowd heading down the stairs to the concourse area, and then found himself being pushed, and found it hard to keep his balance. His drink inadvertently went over two police officers pushing the crowd, he says, and it was then he was repeatedly hit with a baton and pepper sprayed.

Other fans have reported seeing a nine-year-old boy in the crowd who was also pepper sprayed.

The fan is suffering from pain in his elbow following the incident on Monday

"They started to come towards me and I grabbed my pint,” he said. “The police started to push Luton fans back. I had my pint glass in my hand but they were pushing and pushing and pushing. I thought I was going to fall over and my pint went up in the air. Then I was batoned, first on my arm where there is now a big lump and one on my back. The next thing I couldn’t see!”

He says stewards rinsed his eyes out. “My face is still burning and my eyes are burning,” he said, 24 hours after the incident.

Police have said their action was ‘necessary’ to deal with a ‘high level of violence’ towards police officers.

The fan believes around 100 people were caught up in the melee, with around 30 to 40 police officers being involved.

The man has bruising on his back, 24 hours after the incident at Craven Cottage

"Luton fans were targeted by police,” he claims. ”We have never had any issues with Fulham. The police were hitting out at everyone.

"It has shook me more than I thought,” he said. "The next morning I felt like I had been beaten up. I know of a good double figures of people who got pepper sprayed.”

He said there had also been problems with the police at a QPR match earlier in the season. “It’s putting me off going to London matches,” he said. “The police were really heavy handed.”

Read More

Read More
Pub band Cerberstacks releases charity single in honour of Luton Town's Mick Har...
Hatters fans in the corner of the Fulham ground

A statement from Luton Town Football Club said they had received numerous complaints from supporters who attended the match, over their treatment by police and stewards at Craven Cottage.

“As has been reported and indeed witnessed by fellow supporters, members of our club staff and club stewards who were invited to attend the game, for children and senior supporters to be stewarded so aggressively, is disappointing and unacceptable.

“We would like to reassure those who have raised issues that club officials will be in contact with Fulham and the Met Police to ensure they are investigated fully.

“Meanwhile, we would like to offer a huge thank you to the near 2,000 fans who supported the team in their usual passionate, yet impeccable manner. You did your club proud under disappointing circumstances and we look forward to seeing you all back home at the Kenny for a huge game on Saturday against Reading.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “At half-time in the Fulham v Luton game on Monday, May 2, officers responded to violence in the away end of the ground.

“Pava spray was deployed as were baton strikes. These tactics were necessary to deal safely with the high level of violence shown towards police officers.

“One man was arrested for assault on an emergency worker. One officer was injured. He did not require hospital treatment. We are not aware of any other injury.

“Two other men were arrested during the course of the game, one for a racially aggravated public order offence and possession of Class A drugs, the other for setting off a flare within sight of the pitch.

“CCTV footage will be reviewed and any offences will be investigated fully.

“No complaint has been received at this time.”

Fulham FC have been approached for comment.

> Did you witness the incident or get directly caught up in it? Email your views to [email protected]