After a fantastic season for Chesterfield, captain Ian Evatt’s season came down with a crashing thump after he was verbally and physically abused on the pitch.
At the end of the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final second leg at Deepdale, Preston fans ran onto the pitch to celebrate with their team. But the Chesterfield players, and namely ex-Blackpool player Evatt, were caught up in the drama.
He told FootballFanCast.: “The referee had planned to blow the whistle when the ball was nearest the tunnel so we could get out of the way before the fans all ended up on the pitch.
“Unfortunately he did the total opposite and I just had no way of getting out of the way.”
“I expected to receive abuse from the Preston fans – that kind of comes with being an ex-Blackpool player – but things just went so horribly wrong.”
A man has been charged in connection with an assault on the captain after he was punched, kicked and spat on, and Evatt hopes the law teaches him a lesson.
“He’s in court today [28th May] so I just hope they throw the book at him. Something needs to be done. These incidents are getting too frequent and it’s only a matter of time before something serious happens.”
The incident put a bit of a downer on what has been a fantastic season for both clubs. The 33-year-old is loving his time at the Spireites and is already looking ahead for next season.
“I cannot wait for next season to start already,” he added.
“We have a great group of lads and Dean Saunders really has a vision to push us forwards and we are improving all the time. We have already picked ourselves up from the loss and we are ready to try again.
“This season we probably over excelled on the budget we had. No one expected us to get to the play-offs but we did and we gave it a really good go. Just a shame with how it ended.”
Evatt re-joined Chesterfield in 2013 and has since made 73 appearances for the League One side. His previous spell at the club was in 2005 and he has been an influential captain over the season.
“I have loved being at Chesterfield we have had some great times while I have been back at the club from getting promoted and winning League 2 in 2014 and JPG final as well, Evatt admitted. “It was great to go back to Wembley.”
The Chesterfield players are now on a well-deserved break before training starts ahead of the new season in August.