Depending on who you ask in the Everton fanbase, reactions to Ross Barkley’s acrimonious departure from the Toffees vary from indifference to loathing. On his return to Goodison Park for the first time since his transfer to Chelsea in 2018, the boyhood Everton fan was jeered roundly by most of the crowd just about every time he came near the ball.
However, it appears at least one supporter went too far and attempted to hit him with a projectile, rumoured to be a coin. We can’t say we’re fans of Barkley, having tired of his antics at Everton, but lobbing a missile at the player (any player really, even Steven Gerrard) is uncalled for.
Everton and the Football Association (FA) have launched an investigation into the incident which purportedly occurred in the seventh minute of the game which Chelsea started well pinning back the hosts. Barkley had gone towards the Gwladys Street End to take a corner when the coin went sailing towards him but did not hit the player.
Barkley appeared to be trying too hard most of the game and was taken off after an hour to another round of lusty boos, but appeared to applaud the home crowd as he left the pitch. Everton went on to win the game 2-0.
The club issued a statement today stating -
“We are investigating the alleged incident and reviewing footage. If anyone is found responsible for this or other such incidents, the club will take robust action.”
The incident came two days after the FA, the Premier League and EFL asked supporters “to carefully consider their behaviour, not only at this weekend’s Premier League, EFL and FA Cup matches, but at all games in the future”.
That came after three separate incidents the weekend before involving fan-player interactions: Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish was accosted by a Birmingham City fan, while Manchester United’s Chris Smalling and Glasgow Rangers’ James Tavernier got into confrontations.