Cork-born defender Jake O’Brien says he was disgusted by the behaviour of Port Vale fans at the end of Swindon Town’s League Two playoff semi-final defeat on Thursday night.
Crystal Palace’s 21-year-old centre-back was introduced as a sub in extra-time for his on-loan club Swindon with the tie in the balance. Vale eventually prevailed to the Wembley final by winning 6-5 in sudden death penalties following a 2-2 aggregate draw.
But the latest demonstration of unsightly scenes in English football ensued afterwards when Vale fans stormed the pitch, leaving Swindon’s players left surrounded and exposed.
Livid Swindon boss Ben Garner claimed his players were physically and verbally abused, a sad state which Ireland U21 defender O’Brien also spoke about.
“Absolutely devastated but so proud of the boys,” the Youghal man said on Twitter. “Stuck together until the very end. Disgusting what happened at the end, having to protect ourselves with no help from the stewards. All you Port Vale fans should be disgusted with yourselves.” Garner added: “My players have been physically and verbally abused after the game. It’s absolutely disgusting.
“It’s disappointing what they’ve had to put up with coming off that pitch.” “I’ve seen (it) in some of the other play-off games. I don’t know where we’re going to as a country, but it’s absolutely disgusting.
“To lose like that was really cruel. But the way they’ve conducted themselves, the effort they’ve put in, I’m so proud of all my players.” Former Cork City defender O’Brien made 21 appearances for Swindon since being loaned out by Palace. He had just had his contract extended by the Premier League club till 2024.