Football

Chris Brunt, right, insists he could have been blinded after being hit by a coin thrown from West Brom's own fans .

Chris Brunt challenges coin-throwing fan to come forward

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Chris Brunt insists he could have been blinded after being hit by a coin thrown from West Brom's own fans.

The Northern Ireland international was hit under his left eye by a coin thrown from the visiting section as he went to hand his shirt over to a Baggies supporter following their 3-1 FA Cup defeat at Reading on Saturday.

The police are treating the incident as assault with the Football Association also investigating while Press Association Sport understands Albion will issue a lifetime ban to anyone found guilty.

Brunt was then involved in a heated exchange with a group of fans and believes the coin may have blinded him.

"It could have done but it is done now, you can accept criticism and accept people having a go at you in games for not playing well individually or as a team but you can't accept people throwing stuff," he said.

"I can't pick that coin up and throw it back at him. If I did that I would be all over the news and probably sitting in a police cell. It is definitely not on.

"I was pretty angry in the heat of the moment. I didn't see what happened, I turned around and got hit by a coin. I don't know who threw it , I don't know where it came from. It is a brave man to throw a coin from there and a braver man if he admits to it.

"I don't really see how that was any different to whacking someone in the street. We are not allowed to do it and nobody is allowed to do it in the street so why should he be allowed to throw coins at football matches?

"He was probably lucky the police were there otherwise he might have got collared by me if I had known who he was."

But Brunt does not expect anyone who threw the coin to apologise to him despite widespread condemnation about the incident.

He said: "Probably not, but it would show and make him a bigger man than what he was to throw a coin from 20 yards away to hit me in the head if he owned up to it. You are throwing football back 20 years with some of the behaviour there.

"My wife and kids were going to come to the game today but I am glad they didn't because if my kids had witnessed that I would have been gutted."

The 31-year-old is Albion's longest-serving current player having made 313 appearances since joining from Sheffield Wednesday in 2007.

He added: "Nobody deserves that, it doesn't matter whether I have been here 10 years or 10 minutes. Nobody deserves to have stuff thrown at them on the football pitch."

West Brom captain Darren Fletcher led Brunt away after the incident and insisted social media has escalated problems.

"We have a new generation now where everyone has an opinion," he said.

"Small things can sometimes escalate and get a lot of people behind it because of the power of social media. It is a new generation, it is something we have got to accept, it is not going away and we are going to have to deal with it. But ultimately there is a line and unfortunately that was crossed."

Boss Tony Pulis called the act barbaric and urged the police to find the culprit and also believes the rise of social media is partly to blame.

"I think it's every club. I don't think it's just one club," he said. "If they're going on computers and telephones fine, what you can't do and what you've got to be careful of is allowing the incidents to build over to what it was on Saturday.

"The world's gone mad if people accept that."

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Topics:
Reading
FA Cup
Football

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