What Everton fan said to Patrick Vieira to provoke angry reaction from Crystal Palace boss

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Social media footage has shed more light on an unsavoury incident between Patrick Vieira and an Everton pitch invader. The Crystal Palace boss’ grab and kick has become one of the key talking points from an emotional night of action, which saw the Toffees secure their Premier League survival with an unlikely comeback triumph. 

Goals from Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew were merely precursors to a dramatic second-half fightback. Michael Keane and Richarlison brought the game level, and Everton fans invaded the pitch with five minutes of normal time to play after Dominic Calvert-Lewin netted what turned out to be the winner. 

Predictably, another swarm followed after the final whistle as the Toffees mathematically secured Premier League safety, avoiding what would have been a first relegation in over 70 years. A disheartened Vieira had to wade across the chaos and walk 80 yards towards the away dressing room at Goodison Park. 

Footage then showed the Palace manager grabbing and kicking a fan after being goaded at close quarters, which sparked curiosity over what the pitch invader said. 

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Social media footage showing the incident reveals that the fan shouted: “Suck on that, you muppet. F*** off.” He then stuck his middle finger into the former Arsenal captain’s face, which provoked an instant reaction. 

Vieira was understandably coy on the matter after the match, telling reporters that he ‘had nothing to say’. A similarly short and snappy response followed when pressed on the two pitch invasions. “The referee managed it really quite well,” he said.

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Everton boss Frank Lampard, meanwhile, said he had ‘no issue’ with the way fans conducted themselves after the final whistle, adding that they were ‘well behaved’. He did, however, express sympathy for Vieira and regret that he did not invite him down the home tunnel, which would have prevented the perilous walk across the pitch.

It is the second incident of Everton fan controversy in the past week as Merseyside Police investigate alleged incidents of racism against the families of Brentford’s Rico Henry and Ivan Toney. The Bees duo vented their anger on social media after last weekend’s clash, which the Toffees lost 3-2. 

As the season draws to a close and teams begin to learn their fate, questions on fan conduct continue to spring up. On Thursday a Nottingham Forest fan was jailed for six months after headbutting Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp, and Swindon Town boss Ben Garner labelled the behaviour of Port Vale fans ‘disgusting’ after losing their League Two play-off semi final. 

As for Palace and Vieira, they maintain slim hope of finishing in the top half but they would need results to go their way on the final day. The Eagles welcome Manchester United to Selhurst Park, where incoming Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag will watch on from the stands. 

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