Pitch stormer handed match ban
A Manchester City fan who stormed on to the football field to confront Rio Ferdinand at the end of a stormy Manchester Derby match has been banned from attending football matches for three years.
Matthew Stott, 21, was told he came close to going to prison, but instead his 56 days jail term was suspended for 12 months.
Stott had to be restrained by City keeper Joe Hart from confronting Ferdinand, who was already bleeding from a cut caused by a coin thrown from the stands at the end of the explosive local grudge match.
Ferdinand had been celebrating Robin van Persie's late winner for United at City's Etihad Stadium when tempers boiled over. TV footage of the incident was played at Manchester Magistrates' Court showing Stott, who had sunk eight pints of lager before kick-off, trying to get at the United defender.
Andy Holt, prosecuting, told the court that after police caught him and cuffed him on the pitch, he shouted abuse at the officers.
Stott, a landscape gardener of Southfields, Knutsford, pleaded guilty to encroaching on the field of play and using insulting words or behaviour during the incident on December 9.
His father, who attended the match with his son, sat in the public gallery during sentencing by District Judge Paul Richardson.
As well as the football ban and suspended jail sentence, he was ordered to do 120 hours community service, must pay £145 in costs and observe an 8pm to 6am home curfew for three months.
District Judge Richardson commended England goalkeeper Hart for quickly stopping Stott getting at Ferdinand. He said it was "difficult to associate" the glowing character references for Stott with what he had seen on screen.
Rebecca Caulfield, defending Stott, said he had drunk eight pints of lager before the incident which was not planned, and he could now not remember what he had done. Stott issued an apology through his solicitor the day after the match saying he was "extremely ashamed" of his actions and apologised to Ferdinand and United's fans.