Oxford manager calls police after alleging Sunderland coach ‘headbutted’ goalkeeper

Oxford United manager Karl Robinson called in the police after claiming a member of Sunderland’s staff butted his goalkeeper Jack Stevens during a “massive brawl” at the Stadium of Light.

Robinson was furious after the alleged altercation in the tunnel and questioned why there was no video footage of the incident, with another confrontation taking place after the match.

He also criticised Sunderland manager Lee Johnson and his staff for their behaviour, although Johnson claimed his Oxford counterpart was wrong to attribute all the blame to the hosts.

Robinson said: “It wasn’t alleging. My goalkeeper, he was headbutted at half time, there was a massive brawl in there. We have asked the police to come. Their players have seen it, our players have seen it. My player certainly felt it.”

“But for some unknown reason there is no footage. Ironic here, isn’t it? They’ve had documentary cameras everywhere in the last few years. We will let the police deal with it. They have no cameras in the tunnel but their player saw it. Our goalkeeper will make a charge at the end of the game.”

“I am furious. So many things I could say. We have to keep our dignity.”

Johnson responded to Robinson’s comments, saying “He’s [Robinson] got to be careful, I’ll tell you that. There are always two sides to any story. Let me tell you, there was a lot of Oxford staff that didn’t come out of it smelling of roses, let’s just say that.”

“I didn’t see what happened at half-time. I was in the toilet, waiting for the boys in the dressing room wondering where everybody was. It was probably a good thing because I would have been like Scrappy Doo in there. Look, it happens all the time, especially in a condensed area. It was handbags a lot of it.”

“For me, it’s a man’s game and we’ll crack on. It’s up to anybody else what they do, but I would be careful throwing out some of the things that I’ve heard.”

There were also reports of an altercation after the match involving both sets of players, with Johnson claiming: “It happened at the end as well, which is not ideal, and I think that one was provoked, to be honest with you.”

The verbal jousting came in the wake of a tempestuous match in which Sunderland ran out eventual 3-1 winners against 10-man Oxford.

Robinson himself was sent to the stands after furiously protesting Sunderland’s second goal that came from a quick free-kick when an Oxford player was down injured. Aiden McGeady tapped home from that free-kick, but Robinson felt aggrieved that his side were unable to defend at full strength.

Sunderland captain Max Power scored a third in extra time to put the game to bed and proceeded to run half the length of the pitch to knee-slide and celebrate vigorously in front of the Oxford bench.

The result leaves Oxford four points adrift of the playoff spots while Sunderland are third, two points behind Peterborough but with a game in hand.

The Telegraph has contacted both clubs for comment. Oxford United declined to provide a statement, while Sunderland did not respond to multiple requests. Northumbria Police also could not be reached to confirm if they have received a complaint.

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