After Kieran Richardson’s goal on Saturday two supporters appeared from behind Shay Given’s goal to taunt him.
Shay Given - taunted after Sunderland’s second goal
Referee Mike Riley ran over to calm Given down, and then stewards removed the two supporters, but the goalkeeper came very close to reacting on a day scarred by supporter misbehavior. It’s good that Shay didn’t react, but he was tempted, that’s for sure.
Shay (full name Séamus John James Given) told the Newcastle Journal this morning:
“A few idiots came on to the pitch near me. It was a bit unsavory. I got a bit of abuse but I can’t repeat what they said.”
“It’s a shame because Sunderland have waited a long time for this and you don’t need a few idiots invading the pitch. The fans should stay in their seats and celebrate off the pitch.”
“We don’t want to lose passion but people running on to the pitch and shouting in players’ faces, that’s nothing short of stupidity. It was hard for me to keep my temper. It got close to something happening.”
“You’re feeling low enough after conceding so the last thing you want is some idiot roaring abuse in your face. You’ve got to count to 10 in your head.”
Given also added there was no element of surprise from Richardson’s strike, which was clocked at 73mph:
“When he ran up I knew exactly what he was going to do because he was so close he couldn’t get it up and over the wall,”
“It came over my side but passed me in a blur. I don’t know what the speed of the ball was but he got hold of it well and it was a great strike.”
“We’re devastated to lose a derby. We needed the points if nothing else. It’s a hard pill to swallow when it’s your big rivals and we were devastated in the dressing room, as the fans will be.’’
“We’re big rivals but fans should stay in their seats to celebrate,” “It was hard for me to keep my temper. You’re feeling low enough after conceding a goal so the last thing you want is some idiot coming on and roaring abuse in your face.”
You could see clearly what beat Shay was the pure speed of the ball, as he wasn’t too far off it, but the ball was in the net before he could react.
A wonderful strike, even if it was the goal that beat us – but that’s how pure class wins these close games.