Police have made an arrest as they investigate the incident that saw West Brom’s Chris Brunt hit by a coin.
The midfielder appeared to be struck as he approached his own club’s fans following Albion’s 3-1 FA Cup defeat at Reading on Saturday.
Thames Valley Police wrote on Twitter: “TVP and Hants Police made an arrest today in relation to a coin throwing incident at @ReadingFC vs @WBAFCofficial FA match on Saturday.”
The Northern Ireland international was hit under his left eye by a coin thrown from the visiting section as he went to hand his shirt over to a Baggies supporter following their 3-1 FA Cup defeat at Reading.
The police are treating the incident as assault with the Football Association also investigating, while it is understood Albion will issue a lifetime ban to anyone found guilty.
Brunt was then involved in a heated exchange with a group of fans and believes the coin may have blinded him.
“It could have done but it is done now, you can accept criticism and accept people having a go at you in games for not playing well individually or as a team, but you can’t accept people throwing stuff,” he said.
“I can’t pick that coin up and throw it back at him. If I did that I would be all over the news and probably sitting in a police cell. It is definitely not on.
“I was pretty angry in the heat of the moment. I didn’t see what happened, I turned around and got hit by a coin. I don’t know who threw it , I don’t know where it came from. It is a brave man to throw a coin from there and a braver man if he admits to it.
“I don’t really see how that was any different to whacking someone in the street. We are not allowed to do it and nobody is allowed to do it in the street so why should he be allowed to throw coins at football matches?
“He was probably lucky the police were there otherwise he might have got collared by me if I had known who he was.”
The coin-thrower was widely condemned by all associated with West Brom.
West Brom captain Darren Fletcher led Brunt away after the incident and insisted social media has escalated problems.
“We have a new generation now where everyone has an opinion,” he said.
“Small things can sometimes escalate and get a lot of people behind it because of the power of social media. It is a new generation, it is something we have got to accept, it is not going away and we are going to have to deal with it. But ultimately there is a line and unfortunately that was crossed.”
Tony Pulis called the act barbaric and urged the police to find the culprit.
“I think it’s every club. I don’t think it’s just one club,” he said. “If they’re going on computers and telephones fine, what you can’t do and what you’ve got to be careful of is allowing the incidents to build over to what it was on Saturday.
“The world’s gone mad if people accept that.”
And goalkeeper Ben Foster tweeted the following:
Whoever threw that coin at Chris Brunt today, thousands if not millions of kids will see or hear about it. You’re a disgrace.😡😒
— Ben Foster (@BenFoster) February 20, 2016