Neil Warnock tells talkSPORT pitch invaders should receive six-month prison sentences in light of Jack Grealish and Chris Smalling incidents
Neil Warnock has told talkSPORT he believes fans invading football pitches should receive six-month prison sentences in light of some unsavoury incidents last weekend.
On Sunday, Aston Villa man Jack Grealish was punched by a Birmingham fan during the Second City derby at St Andrew’s while Manchester United’s Chris Smalling was pushed by an Arsenal supporter during the Red Devils’ defeat at the Emirates Stadium.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, a Hibernian fan ran onto the Easter Road pitch to kick the ball away from James Tavernier as the Rangers captain was preparing to take a throw-in on Friday night.
All of the culprits in the incidents have been punished with Grealish’s attacker Paul Mitchell being sentenced to 14 weeks in prison, while the Gunners fan who pushed Smalling has been charged with common assault.
And Cameron Mack, who confronted Tavernier is due to be sentenced to prison next month, and has also been banned from attending football grounds in Scotland.
However, Warnock, who joined Adrian Durham and Darren Gough on Drivetime, is of the view these punishments are not severe enough.
The Cardiff boss said: “I wrote to the FA a few times in my career because I’ve always been worried about the dugout areas. I’ve been close to being accosted a few times and I never think there’s enough cover from the stewards around so it doesn’t surprise me.
“For me it’s got to be a six-month prison sentence. People will think twice if it’s something like that – a deterrent. It’s got to be a little bit more severe for people like that.
“It’s too often now and it can’t continue and I think the FA have got to get a grip with the government because stewards can’t stop everything.
“There are thousands of people but if you get one nutter wanting to run they’ll get on somehow.
“It can be pretty frightening for the stewards when you see the hatred that they have in their faces sometimes. I smile at it but I don’t think just stewards should necessarily get punished for one fan.
“I don’t think a club should get punished for the behaviour of one fan.
“These people aren’t just doing this in football, they’re like this in their lifetime.
“It’s like the diving issue. I’ve always thought it should be a six-game ban, if it’s a proper dive. You wouldn’t do it twice!
“I know there is some kind of check [for weapons] but I don’t think you can check everything with a metal detector.
“It’s going to take something like that incident with the tennis player Monica Seles [who was stabbed during a match in 1993] . Who’d have thought that would happen in the modern day ?We need to prevent something like that before it happens.
“If you look at the knife crimes in London it’s pretty frightening.”