Sheffield United issue warning after woman is hit in the face by smoke grenade at Reading match

A woman has told how she was hit in the face by a smoke grenade at a Sheffield United match.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 12:54 pm

She also revealed how a disabled fan had been left badly shaken after the device landed in the away section during the Reading match last Tuesday.

Sheffield United have issued a warning to fans following the incident at Reading’s Madejski Stadium.

The woman who was struck said the missile had caught the side of her face before hitting her shoulder and falling under the row of seats in front of her, close to another woman and her disabled daughter in an area where there were several fans in wheelchairs.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A flare is let off by a Sheffield United fan during a Sky Bet League One match against Chesterfield at Bramall Lane in April 2017. A fan has told how she was hit in the face by a smoke grenade during Sheffield United's match against Reading FC at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday, November 23 this year (pic: Warren Little/Getty Images)

Read More

Read More
Sheffield United fans are loving what Paul Heckingbottom, Stuart McCall and Jack...

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told how she made her way through the smoke to the girl and put her scarf over the youngster’s face to protect her before the girl was taken by stewards to the first aid room to be checked over.

“After I got everyone out of the way, I went to the first aid room where the people were taken to check on them and she was fine, just very shaken and in shock, but they both came back to watch the game and sat near me,” she added.

“I feel disappointed that our own fans don't care about who they could hurt when they are being so stupid as to chuck these things.

“This isn't the first time something has happened at an away match. At Nottingham Forest, our fans jumped all over my step dad and nearly knocked him out of his chair to the point I had to push them all off him, and at Blackburn, they chucked a firework onto the pitch.”

Another fan told how the missile was thrown immediately after the Blades scored the second-half winner.

“No police attended and the stewards only removed the flare but nothing else was done,” he said.

“A few fans were complaining about the lack of action and they only said they were looking at the cameras but it seemed to me that nothing was done as no one around me or myself noticed anyone being removed….

“The reaction when we score a goal is getting beyond a joke.”

A spokesman for Sheffield United said: “As a club, Sheffield United do not condone the use of pyrotechnics and have taken a number of measures to prevent them being brought into Bramall Lane.

“Inside the ground, every seat is monitored by CCTV, designed to eradicate criminal disorder and anti-social behaviour - taking pyrotechnics into football grounds is a criminal offence.

“Anyone caught in possession or setting off pyrotechnics risks a stadium ban and further investigation by the relevant authorities.”

Thames Valley Police said they could find no record of the incident.

Fans described the item as a flare, but Reading FC said it was actually a smoke grenade which had been thrown.

The club said that to their knowledge no one had been hurt and no medical assistance had been required.

It said one lady was seen to be disturbed but stewards had reassured her and the smoke grenade was taken away by qualified wardens once it had burned out.