Fan who hit Chris Brunt with coin facing lifetime ban
Chris Brunt has claimed that he could have been blinded after being hit by a coin thrown from West Bromwich Albion’s own fans and has challenged the culprit to come forward and apologise.
The Northern Ireland international was hit under his left eye by a coin thrown from the visiting section as he went to hand his shirt over to a Baggies supporter following their 3-1 FA Cup fifth round defeat at Reading on Saturday.
The police are treating the incident as assault with the Football Association also investigating while Albion say they will issue a lifetime ban to anyone found guilty.
Brunt does not expect anyone who threw the coin to apologise to him despite widespread condemnation over the incident.
“Probably not, but it would show and make him a bigger man than what he was to throw a coin from 20 yards away to hit me in the face if he owned up to it,” said Brunt .
“It is a brave man to throw a coin from there and a braver man if he admits to it.
“I don’t really see how that was any different to whacking someone in the street.”
Brunt was then involved in a heated exchange with a group of fans and believes the coin may have blinded him.
“It could have done, but it is done now. You can accept criticism and accept people having a go at you in games for not playing well individually or as a team, but you can’t accept people throwing stuff,” said Brunt.
“I can’t pick that coin up and throw it back at him. If I did that I would be all over the news and probably sitting in a police cell. It is definitely not on.
“I was pretty angry in the heat of the moment. I didn’t see what happened, I turned around and got hit by a coin. I don’t know who threw it or where it came from.
“We are not allowed to do it and nobody is allowed to do it in the street so why should he be allowed to throw coins at football matches? He was probably lucky the police were there otherwise he might have got collared by me if I had known who he was.”
The 31-year-old is Albion’s longest-serving current player having made 313 appearances since joining from Sheffield Wednesday in 2007.
He added: “Nobody deserves that, it doesn’t matter whether I have been here 10 years or 10 minutes.”
West Brom captain Darren Fletcher led Brunt away after the incident and insisted social media has escalated problems.
“We have a new generation now where everyone has an opinion,” he said.
“Small things can sometimes escalate and get a lot of people behind it because of the power of social media. It is a new generation, but ultimately there is a line and unfortunately that was crossed.”