Arsene Wenger confirms bottle thrown; Sutton boss Paul Doswell slams 'idiots'
Sutton United manager Paul Doswell hit out at the spectators who caused trouble at the end of Monday's game as Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger confirmed a bottle was thrown.
Arsenal won 2-0 at National League side Sutton in the FA Cup fifth round but there were some unfortunate incidents late on, with a bottle thrown in Wenger's direction and police having to intervene as many flooded on to the pitch at the final whistle.
Wenger confirmed the bottle incident after the match, saying: "I don't know if it was at me or someone else or the referee but there was a bottle thrown, yes."
Sutton have an average attendance of 1,561 but sold out their full 5,013 capacity at Gander Green Lane on Monday, and Doswell said the trouble would not have been caused by regular followers of his team.
He said the bottle incident "would not be a Sutton fan" and also criticised those who caused trouble when they entered the pitch after the match, along with the man who ran onto the field while the game was ongoing.
"It disappointed me at the end. They don't support Sutton. You know that and I know that. Absolute idiots," he said. "I totally get it. Unfortunately that's the world we live in. I saw a few idiots shouting and screaming at Wenger and Arsenal players. They've got to be protected from those type of people.
"I saw some odd stuff on Twitter, what people are going to do when they got here. You saw the idiot run on the pitch [pitch-invader during the game] -- that was the big moment of his life. I don't blame them. It's way out of anything I can understand or would even want to understand. I wouldn't want that if you gave me £1 million."
Some moron just threw a near full bottle of water at Wenger. Came within inches of hitting the Arsenal manager's head. Shameful. 0-2 FT- Sam Elliott (@SamElliott_NLP) February 20, 2017
He added: "They [the players] couldn't get the round of applause they deserved. It was a real shame people came on the pitch and took that away from them."
Doswell, who has been Sutton's manager since 2008 and does not take a salary, did say that the club would earn "more than £1m" from the cup run and that Arsenal had made a generous contribution.
"Arsenal have been superb and we think they will help us with a classroom," said Doswell, whose club reportedly pay £40,000 a year in salary to 20 of their squad of part-timers. "They promised us £50,000 and that will buy us two classrooms, an amazing gesture, and we are very thankful."
He also praised Wenger, saying: "He was an absolute gent. He gave me a very nice smile and a handshake."
Doswell, whose property development company sponsors Sutton, did raise his eyebrow at the treatment afforded to players at the elite level of the game.
"Arsenal walked in with bodyguards," he said. "My lads were driving round their bodyguards to get out. They took over the tunnel. We didn't even get to say 'thank you' to our supporters at the end.
"It's a different world, can't say any more than that. My lot are going to work tomorrow. They [Arsenal] are movie stars now -- not allowed to speak to them, can't get near them. It's a different world from when I watched first division football when I was growing up, 14 or 15. Bizarre, to be honest, seeing James Bond security around us. Felt quite safe. A very strange way that football's gone."
Wenger has said he did not enjoy the game on Sutton's plastic pitch but did enjoy the experience of visiting Gander Green Lane.
"I come from a club that is smaller than that so it reminds me of my childhood," Wenger, who played at amateur level in France, said. "The changing rooms for me were fantastic -- the closer you are, the more united you are when you go out there. When you are too far from each other in the dressing room with everybody having a chair, it is not so good. I prefer that -- much more together."
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.