Leeds United pitch invader should cause authorities to reflect, says Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe called on the authorities to reflect after he had a narrow escape when a fan ran onto the Elland Road pitch and confronted him.

The supporter came out of one of the home sections and got close enough to touch Howe and shout abuse at him before being dragged away by steward in the second half of Newcastle's 2-2 draw at Leeds.

He was arrested and issued with a lifetime ban from Elland Road.

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The initiative is aimed more at combatting the pitch invasions seen when teams achieve promotion or secure their place in a division but applies to moments like this too, and they have talked the talk about hefty punishments for clubs whose fans transgress. Supporters of Sheffield United, Rotherham United and Huddersfield Town all stayed off the field when their sides reached their respective targets in home games in recent weeks.

Howe could not say much about the incident because the first he seemed to know about it was when he felt a touch on his arm after the supporter appeared on his blind side.

"Do you know what, I actually can't remember if he pushed me or not, I've got no idea," he said when asked. "It was such a strange thing because you're concentrating on the game and it's not something you expect to happen.

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"He confronted me and said something I can't repeat and then he's lead away – I think that's what happened.

CONFRONTED: Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe, pictured right with defender Dan BurnCONFRONTED: Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe, pictured right with defender Dan Burn
CONFRONTED: Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe, pictured right with defender Dan Burn

"I'm okay. Moments like that do make you think.

"The safety of staff and players is paramount for me in the Premier League and any matches in the Football League and we need to be mindful. Security is so important.

"I don't know if I had time to be fearful because it was over in flash but certainly it makes you think about what ifs.

"It's moments like this that should make people think and analyse things to improve safety for staff and players.

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"No one should have to face that playing a sport they love and trying to entertain the country. It's certainly something to reflect on."

As for the game itself, Howe admitted to his disappointment at failing to win a game which Leeds scored first in and missed a penalty at 1-0, but then went in front through two Callum Wilson penalties before Rasmus Kristensen pulled one back. But as he time strives to qualify for the Champions League, he thinks the result will feel better over time.

"It was a strange game, lots happened, (there are) lots of different feelings," said Howe.

"1-0 down and a penalty down you're fearing the worst but Nick (Pope) makes an incredible save, we then manage to get ourselves ahead and ultimately we're disappointed to win.

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"Maybe the longer time goes on we might think that's a really good point for us.

"I don't think that now, I feel disappointed we haven't won. It depends what happens in our next games but it could be a valuable point.

"Coming here was always going to be difficult with the situation Leeds were in, new manager, style of play, crowd, I think we've done okay. We could have done better but it's the Premier League, it's never easy."a