'A thirst for blood': Mum of disabled boy describes horror of West Brom v Wolves match violence

Clare Sidaway's son Evan has complex needs and became trapped during the match due to the chaos. Credit: Clare Sidaway

A mum of three children, including a disabled boy who uses a wheelchair, has described the terrifying 'chaos' they experienced at the West Brom v Wolves FA Cup clash.

Clare Sidaway, a lifelong Baggies fan, was sitting in a family stand for home fans at The Hawthorns stadium on Sunday (28 January) with two of her children, Evan, 15, and Martha, 14, when violence broke out.

She recalled how, following Matheus Cunha's goal, a Wolves fan shushed the crowd around them, prompting West Brom supporters to rush towards him.

Clare described what followed as a 'thirst for blood' as fans from each side assaulted each other and police officers.

The only accessible route for wheelchairs was blocked by fans, and Clare said the family were 'trapped'.

"I had to get them out of there but I didn't know how. We eventually had to go against the surge of crowds towards the tunnel," she added.

Eventually, they were taken to a safe spot by stewards, where West Brom and Wolves players came over to reassure the family and give them bottles of water.

Clare said she had never felt fear at a match like Sunday's game. She added: "As a mother, you feel the fear differently.

"And as a football fan, there have always been times you sit in the away stand, but you keep your mouth shut."

She described the Wolves fan who sat in the Baggies' area as 'an idiot', asking "how did he get his ticket?"

Clare said she does not blame one particular side for the chaos; instead she blames a group of "hooligans who ruined the game".

Whilst Sunday's event has not put her off attending another derby game, Clare said her daughter is scared to attend West Brom's next fixture against Birmingham City.

Moving forward, Clare wants there to be a better acceptance of how both clubs and fans were to blame.

She also wants to see more serious repercussions for fans who sell their tickets on, particularly to those from the opposing team.

Despite her terrifying memories of the game, Clare and her family want to thank the stewards and police who she says did a 'phenomenal job'.

She added: "They took care of everyone who needed additional assistance. The club were brilliant and the players were brilliant, and I can't criticise the stewards or the police."

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