Police ‘disappointed’ as football hooligan avoids punishment

TAKING A BREAK Mark Martin outside Portsmouth Magistrates' Court
TAKING A BREAK Mark Martin outside Portsmouth Magistrates' Court
Chief Inspector Sharon Woolrich

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A FOOTBALL hooligan who made a Nazi salute says it’s ‘1-0 to me’ after the police failed in a bid to ban him from matches.

Officers had hoped to hand Mark Martin a football banning order to stop him going to games anywhere in the UK for the next three years.

The Pompey fan has been prosecuted twice for football-related incidents in recent months and has a string of convictions for assaults.

His first football-related charge, for being drunk and disorderly, came after he made Nazi salutes at Cardiff City fans when their team played at Fratton Park last August.

The other conviction, for a public order offence, came after Watford’s visit to Pompey’s ground last October when Martin tried to get on the pitch after a goal and then shouted abuse and struggled with the stewards.

But the banning order had to be dropped at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court because district judge Anthony Calloway had already ruled one should not be made during Martin’s last court appearance in October.

Prosecutor Sophie Stevens said that an application could not be made twice and so withdrew the bid.

Despite escaping without a ban Martin was angry at what he described as a waste of time by the police and the courts.

The 39-year-old shouted from the dock: ‘I don’t know why I’m here for this. I shouldn’t be here because it’s a waste of time.

‘This is injustice. I could have told them it was a waste of time, it’s shameful.’

After swearing, he added: ‘I love it, one-up to me, brilliant. About time and all.’

Martin, of Waverley Road, Southsea, has already been banned from Fratton Park by the club for the rest of the season after his conviction following the Watford game.

But the police were hoping to hit him with an order which would have meant he had to surrender his passport if Portsmouth played outside the UK.

He would have also been stopped from going anywhere near Fratton Park on match days and to any town or city where Portsmouth were playing away.

After the hearing PC Stuart Dickerson, from Portsmouth police’s football unit, said: ‘We’re disappointed the order wasn’t made but it’s not going to stop us actively seeking to impose banning orders on people who commit football-related crime and disorder and display anti-social behaviour at football.’

Martin, who is unemployed, could have been facing £1,700 in costs if the football banning order had been made.

He told magistrates: ‘It’s still not justice.

‘They were going to charge me £1,700 if that banning order went through. What do I get for the stress it’s put me through?’

There’s no place for louts say Pompey fans

POMPEY fans’ groups have criticised the behaviour of Mark Martin.

Chairman of Pompey Supporters’ Advisory Panel, Alan Taylor, said: ‘There’s no place in today’s world or in football for behaviour of this nature.

‘In all honesty Derek Stone, the stadium manager, doesn’t look to ban people without giving it a lot of thought and consideration and in fairness nowadays we have very few incidents at Fratton Park, so if any incidents do take place they stick out like a sore thumb. It says it all when this guy was abusive to the magistrates as well.

‘That sort of behaviour can’t be defended. Society, and we would like to think football, has moved beyond that sort of loutish behaviour.’

In 2009, 11 Spurs fans were charged over abusive chants directed at former Pompey captain Sol Campbell at Fratton Park.

But Mr Taylor said: ‘Obviously the Spurs thing was shocking and I have never heard anything like it but thankfully Fratton Park is a lot safer than it was 20 years ago. If anyone does behave in that way, in the main, they don’t get the support from the fans around them.

‘We don’t need these people in football.’

Tony Goodall, spokesman for Pompey Independent Supporters’ Association, added: ‘There’s no doubt football has changed and we have moved on since the 70s and 80s. People don’t tolerate it.’

But he added: ‘People don’t just do a Nazi salute or try to get on the pitch, they work themselves up to it and the stewards need to be a bit smarter to nip it in the bud rather than allow it to happen. It can’t be an easy job but sometimes they’re not picking it up.’