Sidebar

21
Thu, Jun
23 New Articles

Typography

JonesA Manchester United fan who shouted racist abuse at a black player has been fined £200 and banned from football matches for three years.

Howard Hobson, 57, shouted the abuse and made monkey noises at Stoke City's Trinidad-born player Kenwyne Jones during the first half at Old Trafford on 31 January, Trafford magistrates court heard.

The defendant was asked to explain his actions by JPs after pleading guilty to a single charge of a racially aggravated public order offence.

"I'm not racist," he told the bench. "I have coloured people in my family and most of my best mates are coloured. I don't know what came over me. I'm deeply sorry."

After the half-time interval when Hobson returned to his seat he was spoken to by stewards and taken away and then transferred to a police station in Salford.

Hobson, of Weaver Walk, Openshaw, Manchester, who is not a season-ticket holder at Old Trafford, told officers he had come to the match straight from his job as a fork lift truck driver and drank four bottles of beer but was not drunk.

He admitted making some comments about the Stoke player "in the heat of the moment" and accepted he used the words "black bastard". He said he could not remember using the words "wog" or "monkey" but accepted what the witness had reported him as saying.

Rachel Goode, mitigating, said the defendant was "extremely embarrassed" by his behaviour.

"He has serious concerns he will lose his job as a result of this," she told the bench. "He can't really explain his actions on that day. It's out of character for him. He has family and friends of mixed race and he's now branded a racist."

Hobson was fined £200 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £85 court costs. The football banning order means he is not allowed to enter a football ground in England and Wales for three years or he could be arrested and he must surrender his passport when England play internationals abroad.