The match descended into chaos after Manchester United beat Manchester City 3–2 with a late winner from Robin Van Persie in injury time at the Etihad Stadium.

Rio Ferdinand tweeted after the match, saying: “what a result, 3 points! Sweet! Whoever threw that coin, what a shot! Can’t believe it was a copper 2p… could have at least been a £1 coin!” At least the blow to his head didn’t damage his sense of humour.

An hour later Ferdinand tweeted again on a more serious note: “Love the banter between fans but there is a point when it goes too far… calm it!”

Goalie Joe Hart had to step in to protect Ferdinand from a Man City fan who ran onto the pitch towards the defender.

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, told BBC Radio 5 Live that he believes it may be time to consider putting up nets between the players and the fans in order to stop these unprovoked acts of violence.

In total, 13 arrests were made and nine people were charged.

Peter Harrison, 30, from Bolton, was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence. Christopher Johnson, 52, from Alderley Edge and Matthew Stott, 21, from Knutsford were charged with pitch encroachment.

Warren Singh, 19, from Stockport was charged with a public order offence. Sam Weatherby, 21, from Bolton and Philip O’Leary, 24, from Stockport were both charged with breaching football banning orders.

Christopher O’Neil, 21, from Manchester, Andrew Martin, 20, from Blackley and Nicholas Morley, 20, from Blackley, were all charged with being drunk and disorderly.

All those charged are due before Manchester City magistrates court on January 4.

Four others were arrested but released without charge.

Chief inspector of the Greater Manchester police Steve Howard said: “Despite fierce rivalry and high tension there was no major disorder. However, we will continue to investigate the coin-throwing incident and are determined to work with the club to bring the perpetrator to justice.”

The coin thrower has yet to be identified.

Image via Getty