Luton issue lengthy ban to Town fan who struck Sunderland's Manchester United loanee Diallo during play-off win

CEO Gary Sweet discusses pitch invasion
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Luton Town have issued a lengthy ban to a supporter who was caught on camera striking Sunderland attacker Amad Diallo during last night’s play-off semi-final second leg clash.

With the Hatters winning 2-0 to triumph 3-2 on aggregate and earn a place at Wembley later this month, footage afterwards showed the Manchester United loanee being hit by a fan as he went to take a throw-in.

A statement on the club’s official website said: “Luton Town is aware of an incident involving a home spectator and a Sunderland player during last night’s Championship play-off semi-final at Kenilworth Road.

Luton fans take to the field to celebrate reaching Wembley on Tuesday nightLuton fans take to the field to celebrate reaching Wembley on Tuesday night
Luton fans take to the field to celebrate reaching Wembley on Tuesday night

“A lengthy Club ban will be immediately issued and the incident is now also subject to a police investigation.

“Luton Town wishes to clarify that any such supporter behaviour is not acceptable in any way and will take swift, appropriate action to ensure that similar actions do not happen again.

“No further comment will be made by the Club at this time.”

Despite asking for those inside the ground to stay off the pitch at the final whistle, the fans streamed on to the playing surface at the end to congratulate the Hatters’ players and manager Rob Edwards.

There were no repeats of the scenes at Huddersfield last term, where the Terriers supporters manhandled the Town players following the hosts’ victory, with objects thrown into the away end.

The John Smith’s club were fined £70,000 for failing to control their supporters, and although it was a good natured one at Kenilworth Road, speaking to Talksport, chief executive Gary Sweet is expecting a punishment to come the club’s way, despite admitting little more could have been done to stop it.

He said: “Of course we’re expecting some kind of repercussion, but it’s going to be impossible to stop a pitch invasion.

"Unless we have eight thousand stewards you’re not going to stop it, so our objective was to keep the away and home supporters apart, which we did, protect the players, which we did, and then just allow people to enjoy themselves without really trouble.

“So I think we ticked those boxes.

"They did come on, there was no trouble, there weren’t the scenes you saw in some grounds last year when some players were abused.

"There was quite a bit of respect between the two sets of fans, in some way it was quite good to see.

“It was our duty to try and stop people from coming on the pitch, which we did that before the game and during the game, so we did everything possible.

"I think in some ways, the best way to do it is allow them to come on the pitch at the right time, delay the event, get the players off and allow them to come on the pitch.

"It’s become a bit of an institution around football stadiums everywhere on the last game of the season, it happens everywhere.

"So I think it's going to be difficult to avoid that event especially when you win a game like that last night, in the situation we won it.

"It was full of energy, supporters have got energy.

"It was all pent up, so we kind of knew they were always going to do it, it was just about how we managed it and I was quite pleased with that.”