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Luton fan who sang sick song at Sunderland play-off match at Stadium of Light ends up in court

A drunk away football fan arrested for chanting a sick soccer song at Sunderland’s ground before a crucial promotion game has been spared a lengthy stadium ban.

Luton Town supporter Kevin Wilkinson, 34, breathed a sigh of relief when magistrates refused to give him the order of the boot from future matches.

Wilkinson, of Linden Road, Leagrave, Luton, faced being barred for between three and five years under fan ban legislation demanded by prosecutors.

Outside the Sunderland groundOutside the Sunderland ground
Outside the Sunderland ground

But he was spared the ultimate sporting punishment after a court heard he had no previous convictions nor history of matchday offending.

Prosecutor John Garside said Wilkinson targeted home fans with the rude ditty before the Championship play-off first round match at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, May 13. Police asked him to quieten down, but he continued as he made his way through turnstiles – and was dragged out and detained.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard his alcohol-fuelled antics flared because of a change in the way he travelled to the match.

The lifelong season ticket holder usually journeyed to away games by car with his brother and did not drink on route.

But the only ticket he could secure for the play-off meant travelling on a boozy supporters’ bus from Bedfordshire. When it arrived on Wearside four hours later, Wilkinson was sozzled, leading him to misbehave.

Mr Garside told the hearing: “The match was taking place at 5.30pm and the offence was at 4.30pm.

“There was a disturbance between two sets of fans which required police intervention.

“He was pointing aggressively towards home supporters. He was swearing and shouting, ‘paedo’. Children and elderly people were passing.

“A police officer has entered the away turnstiles and removed the defendant. He was unsteady on his feet and slurring his words.”

Wilkinson pleaded guilty to being drunk while trying to enter a sports ground.

Gerry Armstrong, defending, said Wilkinson had travelled the country watching Luton since 1998 without incident.

He said his client’s changed travel plans, and the recent impact on him of his father’s death, had caused his downfall. Mr Armstrong added: “He says he’s been silly, very, very silly.”

Magistrates told Wilkinson his previous good behaviour meant there were “exceptional circumstances” behind their decision not to ban him. He was fined £120 for the drunkenness offence, with £85 court costs and a £48 victim surcharge.

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