Ben Foster, the West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper, has admitted he felt "sick" after watching Chris Kirkland being attacked by a Leeds United supporter at Hillsborough on Friday and has called for the hooligan to be jailed for at least six months.
A 21-year-old man has since been arrested in Cheltenham on suspicion of assault in relation to the incident with the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper, who was knocked to the floor in the wake of Michael Tonge scoring Leeds' equaliser in the 1-1 draw. Foster said it was "scary" to think that the man could have been carrying a blade. He also said that he wished Kirkland had been in a position to give the perpetrator a "boot up the arse".
"It's ridiculous," said Foster, who was once competing for the England jersey with Kirkland. "You saw the guy who interrupted the boat race got six months. If he gets six months, why can't someone who runs on to the pitch and slaps Chris Kirkland in the face get at least that. I hope something serious gets done to him."
Asked whether Kirkland should have "flattened" the hooligan, Foster replied: "I wish he would [have]. I wish he had stood up and given him a boot up the arse. I was watching [the game] and it made me feel sick. It was horrible. He is not even expecting it. The lad has smacked him in the face. He doesn't know what is happening. That lad could have had a blade. It is ridiculous if you think of it like that. It is a bit scary, to be honest with you. I hope the law comes down heavily."
Gloucestershire police made the arrest shortly before 1pm on Sundayon Sunday with the suspect having been identified on social media sites on Friday night. A spokesman for Gloucestershire police said: "The investigation is being led by South Yorkshire police. The man currently remains in police custody."
The Football Association is also investigating the events at Hillsborough.
Dave Jones, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, who was subjected to vile chants from the Leeds supporters in relation to child abuse charges that he was emphatically cleared of in 2000, believes that the time has come for supporters to "police their own clubs".
"It's a football match and we're looking at blaming police and stewards because they're not there," Jones said. "He was a hero, he ran in the crowd, they were slapping him on the back, so what do you do about that?
"It's not one person. In this country we seem to end up going with the minority all the time and it's going to take the majority to sort it out and you've got to police your own clubs.
"Do you know what needs to happen? The people that go to the games that are disgusted – and it's going to be hard – they are the ones who should walk out and isolate the people there who are doing it or point out who are doing it. Neil [Warnock, the Leeds manager] said I was upset because I didn't win the game but Neil must be deaf and blind because there wasn't just one person chanting the vile chants they were chanting. That's not what football's all about and it took away from what was a really, really good game."