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Pictured: Football captain's red-card rage as he climbs into the stands to attack a fan



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 12:43 PM on 22nd October 2009




When the red card was brandished during a fierce local football derby, a red mist descended on footballer Lee Whetter.

As the St Austell skipper left the pitch, he climbed into the grandstand and tackled jeering Newquay fans.

In scenes that recalled Eric Cantona's infamous assault on a Crystal Palace supporter 14 years ago, the 27-year-old barged his way through the crowd and grabbed hold of an opposing fan who had been laughing at him.

Whetter put supporter Mark Charles, 48, in a headlock before raining punches on the stunned victim.

The fan's friends then tried to pull him off and a mass brawl broke out involving up to 20 supporters - including a woman with a toddler.


Enlarge article-1222134-06E7FCD5000005DC-469_634x507.jpg St Austell captain Lee Whetter jumps into the stands to attack a Newquay supporter after Whetter and his team-mate Ben Douglas were sent off


Enlarge article-1222134-06E81E4B000005DC-188_306x423.jpg

Enlarge article-1222134-06E7FDFD000005DC-520_306x423.jpg


Moments before, Whetter marched into the stand as bemused Newquay fans look on. Right, the furious midfielder ignores the entreaties of a women carrying a baby



Whetter was playing for St Austell in Cornwall against local rivals Newquay in the South West Peninsula League Division One West.

But he was given a second yellow card for a reckless tackle. Rather than head for the dressingroom and an early bath, he stormed the grandstand.

The player was immediately stripped of the captaincy and told by his manager that he would never play for the club again.

But there has been no police action as the fan he attacked did not make a formal complaint.

Speaking yesterday, Whetter said: 'I want to apologise to everyone at the game, my actions were totally unacceptable.

'My emotions got on top of me, I don't know what came over me, I am going to be writing to the FA as I was not in the right frame of mind.'


Enlarge article-1222134-06E81EBB000005DC-29_634x408.jpg All hell breaks loose: Newquay fans clash with St Austell players as punches are thown and other duck out of trouble


Enlarge article-1222134-06E81ECB000005DC-953_634x433.jpg The beautiful game? It all kicks off with fans throwing punches and wrestling with St Austell players

He now faces disciplinary action along with St Austell Football Club - who face expulsion from the league for the ugly scenes on Sunday.

St Austell manager Andy Dingle said Whetter had 'no future' at the club and he has been suspended.

He said: 'I treat this incident very seriously and at this moment in time I cannot see that Lee Whetter has a future with St Austell football club.

'Lee Whetter was sent off, he lost his cool and reacted to a couple of idiots in the stand.

'I tried to stop him, but he knows what he's done.'

Lisa Hampshire, who was cradling a newborn baby, tried to restrain the player seconds before he started grappling with fans.



article-1222134-06E81E31000005DC-493_634x506.jpg Whetter grabs Mr Charles in a headlock and starts to rain punches on his head. The victim coolly hangs on to his cigarette during the attack



Enlarge article-1222134-06E81ECF000005DC-249_634x411.jpg A woman becomes involved in the melee as a second St Austell player steps in to try to calm things down

She said: 'I've never seen anything like this. Our baby is only nine-weeks-old and has been to every match since she was born.

'I felt really intimidated when he came over. I just wanted to get myself and my baby out of there.' The brawl was finally brought to an end when Newquay's centre-back Sam McKune diffused the situation in the Poltair Park ground.

Newquay manager Jim Hilton said: 'Our supporters are very vocal and we're all passionate about football.

'It was a cracking game and a cracking win but sadly it will all go by the wayside.'

South West peninsula league secretary Phil Hiscox the FA were investigating the fight.

He said: 'St Austell have been reported to Cornwall FA by the Referee, the County FA will presumably instigate charges and once those are issued it will be up to those accused to respond to those charges.'

St Austell police inspector Stuart Gibbons said that no complaint had been made to them by any individual but should they receive any relevant information they would make inquiries as appropriate.

The game ended with Newquay winning 4-3.


Enlarge article-1222134-06E7FD40000005DC-195_306x466.jpg

Enlarge article-1222134-06E7FDA4000005DC-816_306x466.jpg


St Austell's Ben Douglas is sent off during the match - a decision which sparked the brawl with fans





Enlarge article-1222134-06E81FEE000005DC-328_634x416.jpg What kicked it all off: Newquay fans celebrate the double-sending off in a match that their team squeaked 4-3



Enlarge article-1222134-06E81F9B000005DC-171_634x390.jpg Newquay FC supporters tussle with players from St Austell

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