FOUL-MOUTHED racist Andrew Mears has been banned from going to Pompey matches after ruining a family’s day out.
The Kipps family had travelled from London and Kent to celebrate a relative’s 82nd birthday with VIP tickets to the Portsmouth v Barnet match last September.
I train people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and I would not be able to took them in the eye if I did not pursue this. It’s just not acceptableSteven Kipps
But within moments of taking their seats, the family heard a deluge of obscenities and racially-abusive language coming from a group of men in the row behind them.
Portsmouth magistrates heard that when a member of the family asked the men to tone down their language, they were met with more abuse and the obscenities, particularly racist abuse, increased.
In a bid to defuse the situation the Kipps family agreed to switch seats for the second half so the older members of the group did not have to sit directly in front of the main offenders. The men then also switched seats.
Racist abuse was directed at a black Barnet player, which the family said left them horrified. It was compounded by the fact the men were seen entering the members’ bar after the match.
Steven Kipps, from Kent, said: ‘We were there to celebrate my father-in-law’s 82nd birthday. We just wanted a nice time, but as soon as it kicked off it was just horrendous.’
He said one particularly offensive word was ‘shouted continuously’.
‘I go to football matches and you’re going to get swearing but use of that word, continuously, has no place in society.
‘I felt uncomfortable. I had my daughters and my mum there.’
Mr Kipps’ elderly father Robert asked the men to tone down the language and was told ‘if you don’t like it, move’.
The family were then subjected to sarcastic comments. The men leaned and fell into them, and told them there was ‘no place for women in football anyway’.
Mr Kipps recalled how, just before half-time, he heard Mears shout racist abuse at a Barnet player warming up, and called out ‘You’re going down’. Just seconds later Barnet scored.
‘There were children around who could hear it’, he said.
‘I don’t think people who are just playing a game deserve that sort of abuse. It’s vile language.
‘I train people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and I would not be able to look them in the eye if I did not pursue this. It’s just not acceptable.’
Mears, 47, of Greywell Road, Leigh Park, was identified from a photo taken in the members’ lounge afterwards with black Pompey player Kyle Bennett, who had been named man of the match.
Mr Kipps said he could not believe Mears’ hypocrisy.
Mears admitted using ‘disgusting language’ but denied racist comments, saying they came from a man he did not know, who was sitting behind him and the family must have been mistaken.
He said: ‘I admit swearing but not racial abuse. I have been brought up in a foster home with black children who I still class as brothers and sisters.’
But magistrates were not convinced. They found Mears guilty of one count of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, which was racially aggravated.
He was fined £525 and banned from all home and away Pompey fixtures for three years.
Colin Farmery, Pompey’s head of inclusion, said: ‘As a club we are very pleased with this outcome. We have a zero-tolerance approach to discriminatory chanting and we will always refer the matter to the police in the first instance.
‘This case was a good example of how when fans are prepared to make statements about anti-social behaviour, it is taken seriously.’
and followed up.’
To report anti-social behavious at Fratton Park call 07500 778844.