FOUR football fans were spared jail after becoming embroiled in a shocking display of violent disorder ‘never before seen’ at Portsmouth Football Club.
Joe Stevens, 22, Bradleigh Cox, Daniel O’Mahoney, 19, and Ewan Bird, 19, were all handed suspended sentences and football bans for their role in the disorder at Fratton Park on September 30, 2017.
The chaos erupted at the end of the match against Oldham Athletic when the visitors went two-nill up in the 88th minute.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Oldham fans’ shirtless celebrations outraged some of the dismayed Pompey supporters.
Angry Stevens, of Devon Road, and O’Mahoney, of Dunsbury Way, Havant, stormed the pitch forcing the game to be suspended while they were dealt with.
After the match, all four joined a mob of more than 100 ‘aggressive’ Pompey fans who had massed outside the away supporters’ gate at Fratton Park, swearing and shouting threats like ‘you’re going home in a Pompey ambulance’ to Oldham supporters, prosecutor Simon Jones said.
‘The police were not expecting any difficulty in this fixture,’ he told the court. ‘It became clear that a hostile situation was developing.
‘What followed had not been seen at Fratton Park before and was described as “unique”.’
O’Mahoney hurled two items at fans, while Stevens lobbed three or four 10p coins.
They were joined by Bird - of Holland Road, Southsea - who threw two coins, and Cox, of Devon Road, Copnor, who hurled a piece of rubber and pebble dash originally thrown at him by away fans.
The unexpected surge of violence forced police to escort Oldham fans out of a different exit.
Upon discovering this, a baying mob of Pompey fans charged through streets around Fratton Park in an effort to hunt down the Oldham supporters, with Bird and Cox being spotted in the sprinting mass of angry fans.
All four were identified by CCTV and handed themselves in following an appeal in The News.
They pled guilty to charges of violent disorder, with the court hearing how all the men were ‘genuinely remorseful’ and ‘ashamed’ by their actions.
All were of previous good character and had no convictions before the events of September 30. Nor had the reoffended since this, the court heard.
Sentencing, Judge Tim Mousley QC, refused to pass immediate custodial sentences on the four and said: ‘Mercifully, nobody was injured - although there was quite obviously potential for injury to be caused by the flying objects.’
O’Mahoney and Stevens were both handed an eight-month term in a young offenders’ institute, suspended for 18 months. Bird and Cox received six-month sentences, suspended for 18 months.
All were ordered to carry out 175 hours unpaid work, pay £250 compensation to Pompey and were handed a three-year football ban.