West Brom star claims abuse is just part of the game in modern football

Darren Fletcher says that a line was crossed at Reading on Saturday but insists that players have to learn to take abuse.

West Bromwich Albion captain Darren Fletcher has told the Sun that although a line was crossed by the coin-throwing incident at Reading on Saturday, modern footballers must get used to the fact that abuse is part of the game.

Fletcher's teammate Chris Brunt was struck by a coin thrown from the West Brom end as the Northern Irishman went over to give his shirt to a fan after the 3-1 FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Championship side Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

The former Manchester United man branded the incident as completely unacceptable, but suggested that the bit that surprised him was that the coin was thrown by West Brom fans instead of opposition fans.

In the wake of Fletcher's former Baggies teammate Joloen Lescott's recent abuse from fans of his current club Aston Villa after tweeting a picture of a car after the 6-0 defeat to Liverpool, Fletcher also accepted that players now have to learn to take violent words from fans on social media.

The 32-year-old told the Sun: "Small things can sometimes escalate and get a lot of people behind it because of the power of social media. It is a new generation, it is something we have got to accept, it is not going away and we are going to have to deal with it.

"Ultimately there is a line and unfortunately at Reading that was crossed. You expect to be hit by away fans but not your own fans. Let’s hope it is one incident because we need all of the fans with us and I am sure they will be right behind the players.

"It is not a pleasant experience for anybody, to have a coin hit you from your own fans. But there is not a big problem so let’s put that to bed straight away and just hope that it does not happen again."

Albion's cup exit has increased the pressure on the team and manager Tony Pulis, with speculation now surfacing that the former Stoke City boss will step down from his post at the end of the season.

However, the Baggies would not appear to be in any significant danger of relegation this season, as they currently sit eight points clear of the Premier League bottom three in 14th position.

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