TWO fans have been banned from attending football matches for three years after a friendly match descended into chaos following a pitch invasion.
Kane Hutchison, 22, and Anthony Logan, 21, appeared separately at Darlington Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Both men pleaded guilty to running onto the pitch in the middle of the game between Darlington and Newcastle on July 15, with Hutchison admitting a further charge of causing distress to other fans and Logan pleading guilty to being drunk and disorderly.
Yesterday, Blair Martin, prosecuting, said: “Mr Hutchison ran onto the pitch and aimed a few punches and kicks at other males, but failed to connect.”
Mr Martin said that Logan, of Campbell Place, Newcastle, ran on to the pitch and appeared very unstable because he was stumbling around.
“In the opinion of the arresting officer, he was very drunk.
“He has two other convictions for football-related incidents and I would ask the magistrates to consider a banning order,” added Mr Martin.
Mitigating for Hutchison, of Field House Road, Gateshead, Kashif Khan said he had been a life-long follower of Newcastle, who had harboured aspirations to play for the club.
“He played in the same football team as Andy Carroll as a young man and it was only a knee injury that put an end to his ambitions of being a footballer.
“He has spent time in America coaching young kids and has a real love for the game.
“He was not part of a big group which went to the football match to cause trouble, he was sat at the back and got carried away celebrating the result. He threw a kick not aimed at anybody, more in a celebratory manner much in the same way as people raise a fist in celebration.”
Kathy Wilson, representing Logan, said he recognised a banning order was imminent, but should get credit for his early guilty plea.
“Mr Logan is not a travelling hooligan. He is a young man who has followed Newcastle all his life, added Miss Wilson.
“He got carried away and ran on to the pitch unaware of the specific offence he was committing, although he did know it was wrong.”
Both men were ordered to pay £100 costs each and Hutchison was fined £200. Logan was ordered to pay an extra £165 in fines.
A further 12 arrests are expected over the coming weeks as work between the police and football clubs to root out those responsible for the disorder at the game continues.
Chief Inspector Chris Reeve said: “We have already identified a number of people responsible and are continuing to trace the others.
“We anticipate making a number of arrests and will continue tracking down the irresponsible minority who ruin games for the responsible majority.”
the old celebratory air-kick!