Football fans given banning orders for FA Cup match disorder
Five Manchester City fans, including a police control room operator, have appeared in court following disorder at their team’s FA Cup quarter-final win against Swansea City last month.
Three of the men were given three-year football banning orders for offences including setting off a smoke bomb and using threatening behaviour at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.
Ellis Bottomley, 18, Joseph Eaton, 32, Andrew Peckitt, 53, Harry Eccles, 21, and Matthew Swan, 28, were all charged following a series of disturbances during the FA Cup match which ended 3-2 to Manchester City on March 16.
On Tuesday, Swansea Magistrates Court heard Bottomley, from Raymond Street, Swinton, was drunk when he verbally abused stewards after being caught trying to take a pint of lager into the away end stands.
The warehouse worker refused to leave the stadium and was arrested on a public order offence after screaming “f*** off” in a police officer’s face.
Eaton, a digital marketing manager, from Portrush Road, Manchester, was also drunk when he became “aggressive and verbally abusive” to police and pushed one officer after being ejected from the stadium.
Peckitt, a part-time gardener from Grove Lane, Timperley, Trafford, was arrested after he let off a blue pyrotechnic smoke bomb as the game neared its closing stages.
He later told officers: “What, the blue smoke bomb? It adds to the atmosphere. You get them off eBay. It’s not a flare.”
John Allchurch, defending, said Peckitt’s son had given him the smoke bomb after sneaking it into the stadium, and he “stupidly” pulled the string on the device before the end of the match.
All three men were given three-year football banning orders, the minimum period available, preventing them from attending regulated football matches and forcing them to report to a specified police station and surrender their passport when games are played outside of the UK.
In addition Bottomley and Eaton were told to pay £315 in fines, costs, and a victim surcharge after each pleading guilty to a public order offence, while Peckitt was told to pay a total of £170 after pleading guilty to possessing a firework at a sporting event.
The court was shown broadcast footage of Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero celebrating with teammates having scored the winning goal in the 88th minute and being joined on the pitch by Eccles, from Deganwy, Conwy, North Wales, who had just secured a job as a police control room operator.
Prosecutor Linda Edwards said: “Eccles was seen engaging in celebrating right in the middle of the Manchester City players. He was removed from the field.
“A few minutes later police ejected him.”
Lee Davies, defending, said Eccles was guilty of “over exuberance” and said he had to resign from his new job with North Wales Police, to the “embarrassment” of himself and his father, a retired police officer.
Eccles pleaded guilty to going onto the playing area at a football match, but deputy District Judge Simon Morgan said he would not impose a football banning order, after his local Manchester City supporters club said he had never been involved in any football-related trouble before.
The judge said: “You are a young man of hitherto excellent character.
“This was not a very good decision, drawn by unbounded enthusiasm at scoring of a goal at a significant game.
“But what is clear is that this incident, which lasted literally a matter of moments, was clearly not designed to encourage disruption or disturbance or violence.”
Eccles was given an 18-month conditional discharge and told to pay a total of £105.
Swan, of Cumberland Drive, Bowdon, Trafford, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly after being caught urinating against a wall at the stadium, but the court heard officers had been made aware he was also seen throwing bottles before the incident.
Judge Morgan adjourned the hearing until May for the prosecution to compile evidence of the alleged bottle-throwing incident.
A 15-year-old from Bury and a 16-year-old from Swansea were also arrested for pitch encroachment during the match and have since received youth cautions.
Following the hearings, Superintendent Steve Jones, match commander from South Wales Police, said he welcomed the banning orders.
He said: “I hope they serve as a stark reminder to anyone attending a football match in South Wales with the intention of committing offences that this behaviour will be dealt with robustly.
“We work closely with the football clubs in our force area to ensure that football matches are safe and enjoyable for all, and positive action will be taken against those who compromise that.
“The vast majority of football supporters are law-abiding and attend matches because they are passionate about their team and the game. The behaviour demonstrated by the defendants in this case reflects the actions of only a very small minority, and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure football-related offences are not tolerated.”
Manchester City were approached for comment.