Ex-Town star relives attack horror

FORMER Blues player Tommy O'Neill has spoken publicly for the first time since suffering a fractured jaw trying to protect his 15-year-old son Steve, who was attacked during an ambush as Ipswich Town supporters were leaving Elland Road.

By Derek Davis

FORMER Blues player Tommy O'Neill has spoken publicly for the first time since suffering a fractured jaw trying to protect his 15-year-old son Steve, who was attacked during an ambush as Ipswich Town supporters were leaving Elland Road.

He said: “The people who attacked us weren't real fans because they were waiting for us to come out of the family stand while the game was still going on.

“Steve was attacked by a man old enough to be his father and I went to help him. That made it even worse - it wasn't just some silly kids, there were grown men looking for trouble not real fans.”


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Genuine Leeds fans were appalled at the scenes when sections of their supporters invaded the pitch before full time, pelting Town fans with coins, lighters and a watch-strap.

O'Neill was punched in the face as he and other Town fans left the stadium for the coaches, and needed hospital treatment when he returned home.

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He has since received apologies from East Anglian-based Leeds fans, and added: “It was a minority of their so-called supporters. I was with Leeds fans before the match and had a good time with them.

“They were sickened by what happened, and a group of Leeds fans from around here got together to buy me a present after they heard what happened.

“I'm surprised no action has been taken but I'm not concerning myself about it because I just want to close the book on the whole thing and move on.

“I have no animosity towards Leeds because I had a great time before the game with many of their supporters.”

O'Neill was a member of Ipswich Town's FA Youth Cup winning side of 1973 before going on to play league football.

He said: “I have played against Leeds and they were always great games and their fans were like the 12th man, but they are not now.”

The incident has put O'Neill off from following Ipswich away, and his son is still wary about where he goes.

O'Neill added: “It was our first away game and I really thought all that sort of behaviour was a thing of the past. I very much doubt I will go to an away game again.

“Steve was very traumatised by the incident, and even though he thought about going to Plymouth he changed his mind. He may go to another match, but we will choose carefully.”

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