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Fan banned for goalkeeper attack

A teenage football fan who ran onto a pitch and floored a Premier League goalkeeper has been banned from future games.

Ross Miller confronted Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper during a Tyne Wear derby at the Stadium of Light in January.

The 17-year-old, who has been a Sunderland AFC season ticket holder for ten years, invaded the pitch seconds after Black Cats striker Asamoah Gyan scored a 94th minute equaliser.

He pushed Harper from behind, knocking him to the ground, before being escorted from the pitch by a steward.

Despite making a remorseful trip to Newcastle United's training ground to apologise to Harper, Miller has since received thousands of threats to kill him from Newcastle fans via Facebook.

The sixth former, of Tangmere, Spennymoor, County Durham, was handed a three year banning order and a sixth month referral order by District Judge Roger Elsey sitting at Sunderland Magistrates' Court on Thursday, after admitting common assault, a section four public order offence, and running onto the football pitch. Under the terms of the referral order, he is prevented from going to any Sunderland or England fixture.

The court heard the teenager was ashamed at what happened, and had written to Niall Quinn, Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, and Northumbria Police to apologise for his actions.

Superintendent Andy Dyer, of Northumbria Police Operations Command, said: "Fans who get involved in disorder before, during or after games spoil it for the real supporters and we won't tolerate this sort of behaviour.

"We will act on any information received from the public and ensure that those involved in disorder are identified, put through the courts, and receive appropriate penalties and banning orders.

"Banning orders are an effective tool to help us ensure we can weed out those people who are intent on causing trouble. We will continue to enforce them as well as seeking new ones where the evidence supports such action."

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