Eric Dier facing a ban after confronting fan in the stands
Midfielder climbed across rows of seats towards fan after his side’s exit from FA Cup
Eric Dier in the stands following his team’s defeat in the FA Cup. Photograph: Getty Images
Eric Dier is facing a potentially lengthy ban after becoming involved in a confrontation with a Tottenham supporter after his side’s FA Cup defeat by Norwich on Wednesday.
The England midfielder scored a penalty in the shootout but saw Spurs go down 3-2 after the final spot-kick from Gedson Fernandes was saved by Tim Krul. But after an incident that evoked memories of Eric Cantona’s assault on a Crystal Palace fan in January 1995, all the attention after the match centred on the actions of Dier who had to be held back after climbing into the stand after a fan apparently had a disagreement with his brother.
“I think Eric Dier did something that we professionals, we cannot do, but in these circumstances, I think everyone of us will do,” said the Spurs manager, José Mourinho. “Because when somebody insults you and your family is there and your family gets involved with the person insulting you, in this case a younger brother, I think Eric did what we professionals we cannot do. But I repeat, probably every one of us would do.”
Several videos of the incident were posted on social media that clearly showed Dier vaulting the advertising hoardings before clambering over several rows of seats to reach the supporter in question. A heated exchange followed that saw the 26-year-old repeatedly lunge towards his target before stewards rushed over to intervene.
Dier was eventually escorted back to the changing room, with Mourinho admitting his midfielder had overstepped the mark on a disappointing night for the club that saw them knocked out by the Premier League’s bottom side after Krul’s heroics in the shootout.
“The fans, they were with the team until the last penalty kick that we missed,” Mourinho said. “The people in these privileged positions, in this area of the tunnel, of course some are Tottenham fans but I think a lot of corporation, a lot of invitation, a lot of people with some special status and probably it’s the place of the stadium where I have sometimes doubts that if they are the real, the real Tottenham fans. Because these ones [REAL FANS]are the ones that supported the balls until the last one.
“This person insulted Eric, the family was there, the young brother was not happy with the situation. And then Eric, I repeat, did what we professionals cannot do but did something that probably we would do.”
Dier was reported to still be in he changing room more than an hour after the incident, with Mourinho refusing to comment on rumours the fan had been racially abusing Fernandes after his missed penalty.
“I cannot say. I don’t know,” he said. “I just know the reaction of Eric was based on his brother, didn’t like what was happening there but I cannot go in the direction of these details.”
It remains unclear how Dier was informed of the disagreement involving his brother having just taken part in the match, although the Football Association is likely to take a dim view of his actions.
Cantona was banned for eight months and also charged with assault by the police after his infamous kung-fu kick on Matthew Simmons at Selhurst Park, eventually performing 120 hours of community service coaching Manchester United’s youth teams. The Frenchman was also suspended by United until the end of the season but, asked if Spurs would be taking any action against Dier, Mourinho said: “If the club does that I will not agree but he did wrong.”
While Tottenham will now have to wait another year at least having last won the FA Cup in 1991, the Norwich manager, Daniel Farke, was understandably delighted with his side’s performance as they reached their first quarter-final since 1992.
“We created something special today because I think it’s the biggest success in Norwich City’s FA Cup history for nearly 30 years. To go through this round and to do this was a fantastic performance,” he said.
“It is such a difficult away ground here, Tottenham, and to be there in the end with a win feels great and I’m delighted for my lads. I totally got the feeling we deserved to have this amazing win for our club and for that we are all pretty happy.” – Guardian