Newcastle United star’s blunt exchange with Leeds United steward over Eddie Howe altercation

A Leeds United supporter was banned for life from Elland Road after the incident
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Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson has criticised Leeds United and stewarding at Elland Road after a pitch invader managed to confront Magpies manager Eddie Howe on Saturday.

The man broke onto the pitch and managed to make his way to the away side's technical box shortly after the 90th minute with the score at 2-2 in the Premier League clash.

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Members of the Newcastle United coaching staff, first-team coach Simon Weatherstone and head of performance Dan Hodges, had to keep the intruder at bay until security intervened in a moment which Howe labelled a "surprise".

Leeds United has since confirmed that the man has been arrested and banned from the game for life in a short statement that read: "Leeds United can confirm that following an incident at our Premier League match against Newcastle United today, an arrest has been made and a lifetime ban has also been issued."

The moment was a talking topic for Callum Wilson when he returned to BBC Sounds' Footballer's Football Podcast this week as he reflected on his side's trip to Yorkshire.

The striker retold the moment he spotted the intruder and questioned why a member of the security team had to be asked to intervene.

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He said: "The maddest thing was no one actually saw the guy come onto where he got to. We were all watching the ball, everyone was facing the other end of the stadium and he blindsided everyone.

"You turn to the side and see him confront the manager and you're thinking, he could've come to us.

Eddie Howe was confronted by a spectator at Elland Road (Image: Getty Images)Eddie Howe was confronted by a spectator at Elland Road (Image: Getty Images)
Eddie Howe was confronted by a spectator at Elland Road (Image: Getty Images)

"I see one security guard near the billboards on the side of the pitch, laying slouched back up against one of them not even watching what's going on on the pitch.

"There could've been a load of people on the other side of the pitch coming on and he wouldn't have had a clue. I just had to say, in a kind polite way, get your a** up boy. What are you doing? There's stuff going on around here and you're not even active.

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"It's one of those things, it's disappointing to see because at the end of the day the guy was only shouting in the manager's face but that could've been anybody doing anything. The worrying thing is he got so close to the manager without anybody making contact."

Since the incident, the Professional Footballers’ Association has sought legal advice on whether players can use reasonable force should they be attacked by a spectator during matches.

In an email sent to members, seen by The Guardian, the PFA said: “As your trade union, we are here to support you and we have taken legal guidance on your rights in the event of mass pitch invasions such as those that occurred last year,” the email states. “Harassment, assaults and attacks by spectators are never justified and they are never the ‘fault’ of the player.

"We have been very clear with the authorities that too many of these incidents are still happening, with players left to look after themselves and stewards and security often too slow to respond."