Chris Kirkland attacker has damaged Leeds United's image says chairman Ken Bates


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The Independent Football

Leeds chairman Ken Bates believes the fan who attacked Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland in the ill-tempered Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough on Friday night has caused severe damage to his club's efforts to improve their image.

A 21-year-old man was yesterday arrested in Cheltenham on suspicion of assault in connection with the incident that saw Kirkland shoved to the ground moments after conceding a 76th-minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw.

Quickly the thug was identified on social media sites with hundreds of fans joining in the condemnation. A mobile phone number was even posted, supposedly belonging to the suspect.

Leeds also reacted swiftly to the incident by releasing an official statement before the full-time whistle denouncing the actions of the supporter.

But while Bates has been pleased with the reactions of most Leeds fans, he is upset the club have been tarnished by the actions of one person.

"What is encouraging is that I am told the vast majority of Leeds fans were as appalled by what happened as everyone else," Bates told the Yorkshire Post.

"The idiot who ran on the pitch better not go anywhere near Elland Road again. There are a lot of people angered by what he did.

"We have been working hard as a club to improve our image over the past few years. But this guy has done so much damage to that. It isn't fair on the overwhelming majority of Leeds fans.

"It doesn't do any of us any good, especially at a time when we are working so hard to get this club where it deserves to be."