AND ANOTHER THING...Did Stags player reaction lead to crowd trouble?

Mansfield Town v Notts County.
Mansfield Town v Notts County.

According to some angry fans, it was Mansfield Town’s fault that a small section of Notts County supporters turned violent on Saturday and left a pensioner fearing for his life.

Other than scoring five goals and taking every single bragging right, what apparently got the Magpie fans hot under the collar was that Stags’ keeper - Scott Shearer - may have turned to the goading Notts fans, raised his arms and stuck his tongue out at them when the second goal went in...the naughty lad that he is.

Childish as it may be, it was a cheeky response to (alleged) personal abuse he had taken leading up to this moment.

But it led to a furious reaction from some and injured the 73-year-old Notts fan in the process.

In an angry email to the Chad from one Magpies fan, he described it as being “totally unprofessional” and called Stags to “get their house in order”.

Professional footballers, as we all know, have to put up with abuse from the terraces each and every week.

It’s usually ‘justified’ because these pampered stars earn a lot of money and enjoy all the trappings of a playboy lifestyle laden with supercars, mansions and beautiful women.

What’s a little bit of bile and vitriol from opposing supporters for just 90 minutes a week when you drive a Ferrari?

In fairness to League Two players, it’s unlikely they enjoy such luxuries.

Most players actually ignore the abuse, rise above the booze-fuelled nastiness and consider it part and parcel of the game, rightly or wrongly.

Players reacting to goading fans is nothing new, and there’s been a lot worse down the years.

Can it ever be justified?

The FA have done their best to stamp out racism and homophobia in the beautiful game, and to some degree, it’s worked.

In terms of stopping general abuse, there’s a long way to go.

It can be brushed off as banter, but it’s hardly ever good natured, regularly resorting to poisonous personal insults directed towards a player or his family.

It’s understandable if Shearer did give a reaction on Saturday, but can it ever be acceptable?

Here’s a few more incidents down that years in which players have reacted to the crowds.

1) The King of all reactions came from Manchester United talisman, Eric Cantona. Never one to shy away from controversy, the Frenchman was given a red card during a league match against Crystal Palace in 1995 after stamping on an opposing player. With one Palace fan using it as the perfect opportunity to wind the angry forward up even more, he came down from row 11 to the edge of the pitch and hurled abuse at Cantona, who responded by throwing a flying kick at him, then punching him.

The move was widely condemned and earned Cantona a £20,000 fine and a ban for the rest of the season. Charged with assault, a jail sentence he received was later reduced to community service on appeal.

2) Ade Adebayor. Former Arsenal favourite and ‘money-grabbing’ Togo international had the audacity to leave the North London club for big-spending Manchester City in 2009. Becoming an instant enemy of the Gunners, he took incessant abuse from the Arsenal fans during a match at the City of Manchester Stadium before scoring against his former club. Rather than celebrate with his new team mates, or fans, he ran the full length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans. The travelling Londoners were not amused.

3) Robbie Fowler. Forever questioned about extra curricular activities by opposing fans, Liverpool centre forward Robbie Fowler reacted to supporters of Scouse neighbours, Everton, during a match in 1999. After dispatching a penalty, the cheeky goalscorer got on his knees and pretended to sniff the white touchlines in reference to drug-taking jibes from the fans. It helped earn him a six match ban.

4) Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool defender probably had more reasons than most to react during a cup match against Arsenal in 2002. The Scouse stopper was about to take a throw-in when he was hit in the back of the head by a coin hurled by an Arsenal fan.

While verbal abuse is one thing, being pelted by objects is another, and furious Carragher picked the coin up and threw it back into the crowd in anger. He was sent off and later apologised for his behaviour.

5) Just to prove that it’s not just in football, only last month rugby players in a game between Salford Red Devils and Huddersfield Giants ended up in a brawl - not on the pitch, but in the stands. Two Salford players got into heated exchanges with fans at the end of the match, and had gone into the crowd to protect their own children who had been watching the match. Moments before a flare had been thrown and a fan was escorted out of the ground. It led to some ugly scenes between players and fans.