Sheffield United player Billy Sharp thanks fans for support after assault at Nottingham Forest game

Billy Sharp needed stitches after the incident, said his manager

Sheffield United and ex-Nottingham Forest player Billy Sharp has thanked fans for their messages and support, after being assaulted on the pitch at the end of the Nottingham Forest game last night (17 May).

He said that a "mindless idiot" ruined an "unbelievable night of football" but as an ex-Forest player wouldn't let their actions spoil his respect for Forest fans.

Nottingham Forest played Sheffield United in the Championship semi-final second leg play-off and won on aggregate.

An investigation was launched after 31-year-old Sharp - who used to play for Forest - was attacked at the City Ground and Nottinghamshire Police says it is continuing to liaise with both clubs. A man has been arrested.

Chief Inspector Paul Hennessy from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with this incident. He remains in custody and will be questioned by officers.

“Our enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing. We have spoken to the player concerned and we are working with both clubs who are supporting us with our investigation.”

Nottingham Forest Club said it was "appalled to learn that former player, Billy Sharp, was assaulted leaving the pitch".

A statement said: "The Club will work with the authorities to locate the individual in order they are held to account for their actions, which will include a life ban from Nottingham Forest."

"The Club would also like to apologise to Billy personally and to Sheffield United Football Club."

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom revealed Sharp required stitches after the incident.

The Blades captain was sidelined for this second leg because of injury and was stood on the touchline after Forest secured a dramatic 3-2 penalty shootout victory.

"He’s shook up, bleeding, angry," said Heckingbottom.

“Bill was minding his own business off the pitch, trying to get our players away. He was blindsided, it was cowardly. He was knocked to the ground (and required) stitches, he was shook up.”