Police are investigating after a young Saints fan was injured when an object, believed to be a laughing gas canister, was thrown during the Southampton against Liverpool fixture last Saturday.
The seven-year-old boy, who was sitting in the Northam Stand, was hit in the face by the canister, causing injury, which was thrown from the away end during the Premier League match. BBC News have reported that the object was a ‘nitrous oxide canister‘, which left the boy with ‘sustained minor injuries‘.
Since the event, which happened during the second half of Southampton’s defeat to Liverpool, Hampshire Police have tweeted an appeal for information which could lead to arrest, alongside blurry pictures of the man believed to have thrown the canister.
Recognise this man? The pics are not the best, but we want to speak to him after an incident at Saints v Liverpool on Sat 17 Aug. An item was thrown from the away end into the Northam home section & hit a young Saints fan. Please call 101 ref 44190293624. https://t.co/4RgDYL1Jm7 pic.twitter.com/uB1f4ZKcbA
— Hampshire Police (@HantsPolice) August 21, 2019
Some angered Saints fans, such as Karlton Palmtree, have suggested that the local authorities pass the open investigation on to Merseyside Police, as the alleged culprit is believed to be a Liverpool fan.
Despite this, Hampshire Police have asked anyone with information to call 101, the police non-emergency number, quoting the reference number 44190293624. Informants can also anonymously call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Football hooliganism has hampered English football for decades, peaking in 1985, when all English clubs were banned from European football following the Heysel Stadium disaster, in which 39 Juventus fans were killed after Liverpool fans broke through a line of police officers to charge on the opponents, causing a wall to collapse on them.
Since then, laws have been introduced to prevent disruption or hooliganism at football matches, including Section 2 of the Football (Offences) Act 1991 which bans the ‘[t]hrowing of missiles onto the playing area or into the crowd‘.
Always the minority generating a bad name for the majority, hope they find the man and bring him to justice
— J (@JamieHutton96) August 21, 2019
Liverpool fans like Jamie Hutton have been keen to distance themselves from the illegal actions of the as-yet unidentified man.