Following shocking scenes during Aston Villa’s 3-3 draw with Preston North End, a West Midlands police spokesperson issued a stark warning to other football managers: “Don’t assume you’re out of the cabbage thrower’s firing line.”
With pressure piling on Villa gaffer Steve Bruce after a rough patch of results, one patron of the Birmingham club made their discontent known with in the form of a large, green vegetable.
But police have reason to believe the produce pegger may have more prominent targets for his perishables projectiles.
“What we want to say at this time is that the person responsible here may be in possession of other fresh food – possibly homegrown – and has shown they are willing to use them,” the spokesperson said.
After extensive analysis, police can also reveal the perpetrator may be in possession of further fresh vegetables – goods that could send unpopular managers ducking in dugouts throughout the land.
“There were traces of carrot, red cabbage and several varieties of lettuce found on the object. This leads us to believe this individual may have more targets than just Mr. Bruce.”
Worryingly, the allotment assailant may also be in possession of other foodstuffs for firing-at-will.
West Midlands Police hunt fan who hurled cabbage – understood to be green or 'cannonball' variety – at under-pressure Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce https://t.co/airBJoXDh7
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) October 3, 2018
“There were some smudges we believe to be from strawberries. However, judging by the level of decay, these are likely no longer a threat to the public.”
“The presence of mayonnaise smears does allow us to eliminate any coleslaw haters from our inquiries.”
That being said, the message for managers is clear: vigilance doesn’t have a sell-by date.
“We’re advising those in prominent positions at football clubs to be attuned to any unusual characters or foodstuff in their surroundings. Is that really a sack of footballs at the training ground, or is it full of cauliflowers? Melons even? Is there a parsnip stuck under that training-ground cone? Be aware and be safe.”
Speaking off-the-record, one high-profile member of the League Managers Association confirmed the growing concern.
“Look, you go into any supermarket in the country, there’s racks and racks of this stuff. Leeks, turnips, aubergines, they’re all there.
“And that’s just the veg section.”
“Hopefully I’ll be sacked soon enough and avoid the dry-cleaning bills,” he said, “Though the hotel staff have been really great handling all that stuff in the last few years. They really make you feel like one of the family when you stay here long enough.”
When asked for comment, a major retailer confirmed they had seen a surge in sales of tomatoes in the Manchester area, but could not link it to the recent results of any club.