THE chief executive of Crystal Palace has apologised to two disabled Hull pensioners who were attacked by the club’s fans.
City supporters Marie and Bob Hatton were driving home after watching the two sides play with their nine-year-old great grandson Ben when the assault happened.
Mrs Hatton, 73, was pushed to the ground by a supporter of the London team and suffered a dislocated and shattered wrist, which doctors say will never fully heal.
Now, Crystal Palace chief executive Phil Alexander has apologised to the family on behalf of the club and joined forces with City to offer them VIP tickets for a KC Stadium game.
He said: “We were really disappointed to read about this.
“What was a good day out has been spoilt by two people who acted inappropriately. We pride ourselves on being a family club and this sort of thing doesn’t do anyone any good.
“It’s not what our football club is all about and it doesn’t represent the behaviour of our supporters.”
As they passed the disabled couple’s BMW in post-match traffic in Anlaby Road, two young men pushed each other in the road.
Mr Hatton, 75, honked his horn at them and the pair responded violently, following their car as it moved slowly through the queue.
The pensioner, who suffers from arthritis and walks with a stick, said: “We don’t know why they were stalking us. We don’t know whether it was my City shirt or the stuffed tiger in our car.
“I’ve been going to football since I was seven or eight years old with my dad and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
As their car travelled down the street, the two men – one about 25 and the other about 35 – continued to follow it, shouting abuse.
When Mr Hatton wound down his window to find out what the problem was, they swore at him.
The fans approached the car three times before the pensioners got out because they were afraid it would be damaged.
Mrs Hatton was pushed over and injured, and one of the attackers stole her husband’s walking stick.
Other people saw what happened and chased after the pair, managing to recover Mr Hatton’s walking stick and bringing it back to him.
Crystal Palace fans spoke of their shock at the attack on the Mail’s Facebook page.
Danny Foley said: “As a Palace fan for over 45 years, I am disgusted and ashamed to read about this.
“I hope those responsible for this sick attack are dealt with very severely.”
Jon Ellacott wrote: “This is a disgrace, as a Palace fan this is very concerning.
“Sorry to hear about this, and unfortunately, again, a mindless minority spoil it for the majority.
“This is a very unusual occurrence for Palace fans, especially in all the time I have been going.
“I hope this lady makes a very speedy recovery.”
Article taken from Hull Daily Mail 28th November 2013