SHEFFIELD UNITED captain Billy Sharp was left needing stitches after a vicious attack by a pitch-invading Nottingham Forest fan during wild celebrations at the City Ground.
Robert Biggs, 30, of Derbyshire, has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and going on to the playing area at a football match.
Brice Samba was the hero as Nottingham Forest reached the Championship play-off final at Wembley, saving three penalties in the shootout.
But the evening was totally soured by disgraceful attack on Blades striker Sharp, 36, who was standing watching the celebrations.
Sky Sports captured a yob running full speed at Sharp just seconds after the penalties, sending him crashing him to the floor with a headbutt.
A club spokesperson confirmed to media that Sharp was left needing stitches after the disgusting incident.
Furious United manager Paul Heckingbottom said: “It’s assault. We’ve seen one of our players attacked.
“He’s shook up, bleeding, angry. It’ll be dealt with.”
Heckingbottom added: “We’re seeing things thrown on the pitch and things that are thrown on putting players’ health and safety in danger and nothing’s ever done about it.
“There will be something done about that. We’ve seen what’s happened, we know what’s happened. There’s a prison sentence there without a doubt.
“How can you come to a place of work minding your own business and be assaulted in that fashion?
“It’s just bang out of order and it’s everything that’s wrong. Too many times we hear people condemn it, but nothing’s done about it. We’re the ones that suffered.
“It’s upsetting for a lot of reasons – I don’t want to say too much more about it. He’ll be dealt with.”
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “I am pleased we have now charged a suspect in connection with this assault. This is a result of hard work done throughout the night and today involving numerous police departments.
“We continue to work closely with both football clubs who are supporting our investigation following this incident.
“Cases such as this will hopefully serve as a deterrent to anyone thinking of getting involved in violent disorder at football matches. Incidents are treated extremely seriously by the force and football clubs and people involved will be held to account.”
Forest later put out a statement saying they are “appalled” at the treatment of Sharp, who played for the club on loan in the 2012-13 season.
It read: “Nottingham Forest Football Club are appalled to learn that our former player, Billy Sharp, was assaulted leaving the pitch after tonight’s match at The City Ground.
“The club will work with the authorities to locate the individual in order they are held to account for their actions, which will include a life ban from Nottingham Forest.
“The club would also like to apologise to Billy personally and to Sheffield United Football Club.”
The following morning, Sharp released his own statement on social media.
It read: “One mindless idiot ruined what was an unbelievable night of football.
“Congratulations to Nottingham Forest on their victory and good luck in the final. As an ex Forest player I will not let one scumbag ruin my respect for the Forest fans.
“Incredibly proud to be captain of this group of Sheffield United players, they gave their all and can hold their heads up high. We will be back and go again. Thanks for all your messages of support after the incident.”
Nottingham Forest reached the play-off final at Wembley with a 3-2 penalty shootout win after the Blades had sent the game all the way with a 2-1 win.
Forest keeper Brice Samba saved three penalties in the shootout to book his team’s place in the play-off final against Huddersfield.