Four Tottenham fans banned over indecent Campbell chants
20 January 2009 03:54
Targeted: Campbell pictured during the match against Spurs in September
Four Spurs fans have been fined and banned from attending football matches for three years after admitting taking part in "disgusting and embarrassing" chanting at a football match.
A total of 11 men, including three juveniles, appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court in connection with alleged racist and homophobic chanting.
The charges relate to chants made at Portsmouth Football Club defender Sol Campbell during a match against Tottenham Hotspur at Fratton Park, Portsmouth, on September 28 last year.
The court heard that the main indecent chants directed towards Campbell were: 'Sol, Sol, wherever you may be, Not long now until lunacy, We won't give a f*** if you are hanging from a tree, You are a Judas **** with HIV'; 'Campbell you are a ****, Campbell, Campbell you are a ****', and 'Sol's a w*****, Sol's a w*****.
Other chants at the game were the repetition of the words 'Gay boy' and 'You can stick Sol Campbell up your arse".
The court was told that the chants relate to bitterness by Tottenham fans at Campbell for leaving for arch-rivals Arsenal before he then moved to Portsmouth.
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Richard Gibbs, 36, of Ormonde Road, Wokingham, Berkshire, Stuart Turner, 34, of Queen Street, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, Oliver Silvester, 28, of High Street, Southampton, and Keith Stevens, 54, of Portland Close, Hailsham, East Sussex, all pleaded guilty to indecent chanting - an offence under the Football Offences Act 1991.
They were sentenced to a three-year football banning order, fined£370, ordered to pay£120 costs and to pay£15 to a victim surcharge fund.
Magistrate Susan Waddle said: 'There were families present, very young children. We also heard from witnesses who found the behaviour disgusting and embarrassing.
'No doubt you are upright members of society, but in there you acted like animals, like a herd.
'This was well-rehearsed - everyone was in sync, everyone knew the words - it was not something that just happened on the day.
'Whether or not Mr Campbell was offended, decent members of the public found this very offensive and so did the bench.
'Anyone who indulges in this disgusting behaviour will be dealt with very severely by the courts.'
Natasha Draycott, representing Stuart Turner, said her client had been a Tottenham fan for 30 years and had attended more than 1,000 matches without getting into trouble before.
Turner admitted singing the full chant as well as 'Sol's a w , Sol's a w '.
She added: 'He is bitterly disappointed at his behaviour and profusely sorry.'
Christopher Amis, representing Silvester, said that his client worked in retail management and said that his behaviour in the football crowd was completely out of character.
Silvester admitted singing the first half of the chant during the match.
Mr Amis said: 'He is humiliated by what he himself has done, there can be no question of him repeating this type of behaviour.'
Mr Amis, also representing Stevens, said his client, who works as a self-employed electrician admitted chanting 'Gay boy, gay boy" and "W '.
He added: 'He has no previous convictions, he has been a football supporter for many years and should know better.'
William Ashton, representing Gibbs, said his client admitted joining in the full chant.
He said: 'He has been a supporter of Tottenham for many years and a season ticket holder since 1991 and he has never been in trouble before.'
Nick Hawkins, chief crown prosecutor for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and the CPS lead on football matters, said outside court: 'We draw the line between good-natured, humorous chanting at football matches and indecent abuse.
'We are pleased that four defendants admitted that their part in the chanting constituted criminal behaviour and chose not to contest their football banning orders.
'Obviously we cannot comment on the seven defendants who will face a trial in due course.
'The good behaviour of 37,000 fans at White Hart Lane on Sunday, January 18, shows that the overwhelming majority of decent football fans know the difference between what is right and wrong.
'Those who want to cross the line need to understand that they will be investigated, prosecuted and if convicted at risk of a substantial football banning order.'
Silvester's father Gordon Silvester said after the hearing that his son had been made a scapegoat.
He said: 'The court has made a politically correct view with how the charges have ended up. They have been brought in as scapegoats.'
Dean Nelson, 23, of Southbury Road, Enfield, north London, Joe Turner, 18, of The Lindons, Langdon Hills, Basildon, Essex, Bradley Barnes, 35, of Malmesbury Park Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, and Ian Trow, 48, of Kingshill Drive, Deanshanger, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, have pleaded not guilty to the charge of indecent chanting.
The three juveniles, Michael Eleftheriou, 15, of Winchmore Hill, north London, Huseyin Mehmet, also 15, of Purley, Surrey, and a 13-year-old boy from near Milton Keynes, also pleaded not guilty to the same charge.
Ms Waddle did not impose reporting restrictions on the two 15-year-old boys, stating that they had behaved like adults and should be treated as adults, but she did impose reporting restrictions on the 13-year-old because of his young age.
A trial date for the defendants who pleaded not guilty was set for May 13 at the same court.