Stronger deterrent needed to stop fans, says Jones

SHEFFIELD Wednesday defender Daniel Jones insists the jail sentence handed out to the thug who attacked team-mate Chris Kirkland during last Friday’s derby clash with Leeds United should have been longer to serve as a future deterrent.

Aaron Cawley was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison by Sheffield Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to assault and invading the pitch.

Jones, in the Owls team that faced Leeds, believes a stiffer penalty should have been imposed on 21-year-old Cawley to serve as a warning to football fans in the future.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For the Wednesday defender, last Friday was the second time that he has felt uneasy on a pitch when facing Leeds after being in the Bristol Rovers side that travelled to Elland Road on the final day of the 2009-10 season when the West Yorkshire club clinched promotion from League One.

Jones said: “Friday was a disgrace.

“I didn’t actually see the incident. I just turned round, Chris was on the floor and I thought, ‘What’s happened there?’

“Then, Michail Antonio came up and said Chris had been hit in the face. I went towards him and they were throwing the backs of chairs at us. It ruined the game.

“I thought it had been a good game of football. But it ended up being overshadowed by disgraceful scenes.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After being identified on various social media websites, Cawley was arrested at 1pm on Sunday afternoon and jailed the following day.

Owls defender Jones added: “He was pinpointed straight away. That was good. But, to be honest, he should have got longer. If you did that in the street, you would get a longer sentence.

“We need a deterrent. He needed to get a lot longer. You can’t go out and punch someone in the face. If it had been in a nightclub or a footballer had done it to a normal person then it would have been stamped down on a lot more.”

On the attack that saw Cawley invade the pitch and knock goalkeeper Kirkland to the floor in the wake of Leeds equalising, Jones added: “For someone to lash out like he did, then that is unacceptable.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It would be like me walking down the street, running up behind someone and punching them for no reason. It is cowardly.

“Afterwards, we were all in shock. Chris was shook up. But he is mentally strong and will come through it fine.”

Friday’s ugly scenes brought back memories for Jones of the afternoon in May, 2010, when he was in the Bristol Rovers side beaten 2-1 at Elland Road as Leeds clinched promotion.

During the first half with the scores level at 0-0, Jones became embroiled in a spat with Max Gradel that led to the Leeds winger being dismissed. The home fans were incensed and jeered Jones, who was given a yellow card for his part in the incident, for the rest of the afternoon.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

By the final stages and with ten-man United now 2-1 ahead, Jones admits to feeling more than a bit apprehensive about what would happen when referee Graham Salisbury blew the final whistle.

He recalls: “At the end of the game, I was playing left-back, but on the other side of the pitch near the tunnel, because all their fans were about to run on. I thought they would give me a good kicking if they could have got hold of me.”

Wednesday travel to Blackburn Rovers tonight searching for their first win in 10 league outings.

With two draws in their last three games, however, Jones believes things are coming together for Wednesday.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “When we play the right football, we are a match for anyone.

“We are going to give someone a hiding.”

Last six games: Blackburn Rovers WLDDLD, Sheffield Wednesday LLLDLD.

Last time: Blackburn Rovers 3 Sheffield Wednesday 1; August 24, 2011; League Cup.

Referee: P Gibbs (West Midlands).