'Worthy out' row led to family's arrest

PUBLISHED: 10:46 28 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 14 September 2010

Three Norwich City fans from the same family landed up in court after a row with a fellow supporter during a protest against under-fire manager Nigel Worthington.

Three Norwich City fans from the same family landed up in court after a row with a fellow supporter during a protest against under-fire manager Nigel Worthington.

Members of the Nelson family ended up being arrested after they rowed with another supporter who told them the Canaries boss should go following a home game against Stoke City in March. The flare-up happened as emotions were running high at Carrow Road, with supporters bitterly divided about the manager's future at the club.

Before city magistrates yesterday were Christopher Nelson, 41, his son Wayne Nelson, 19, both of Rosa Close, Spixworth and his nephew Kyle Nelson, 18, of Shakespeare Way, Taverham.

Christopher Nelson was fined £300 and ordered to pay £50 compensation after admitting obstructing PC Lee Hamilton while he was doing his duty. The other two defendants were each fined £150 after admitting disorderly conduct. All three were also ordered to pay £100 costs.

Prosecutor Richard Paterson said the three defendants and Kyle's father Stephen Nelson had been leaving the March 4 game - which Norwich won 2-1 - when a heated argument started.

The row between Stephen Nelson and another fan was over the Canaries' manager.

“I am sure the court will be aware that the feeling towards the manager hasn't been the greatest and wasn't particularly warm last night either, if you read the Evening News.”

Police tried to calm the situation down and Stephen Nelson was arrested, although no further action was taken against him.

Kyle Nelson was also being detained by football intelligence officer PC Chris Watts. Wayne Nelson did not take the officers' advice to calm down, he swore at them and raised his hands at them. He was arrested and there was a struggle, but no one got hurt.

“PC Watts saw a disturbance going on and grabbed him (Kyle Nelson) rather forcibly. He was then aggressive back towards PC Watts and appeared to lunge towards him.”

Many supporters were leaving the ground and officers feared that, because feelings were high, things could get worse.

“Lots of them (the fans) were angry in relation to the manager and the state of the football club at the time,” said Paterson. The actions of Kyle Nelson did, in fact, spark off some violence by four others towards PC Watts. Christopher Nelson, who had been concerned about whether the person involved in the initial argument had committed any offences towards the younger members of his family, then got involved.

PC Hamilton saw him pushing PC Watts and became concerned for his colleague's safety. He grabbed hold of Christopher Nelson and arrested him. Christopher Nelson tried to push him off and they both ended up on the ground.

As a result of the struggle, PC Hamilton suffered finger pains and had a small graze on his elbow, but there was no suggestion of a deliberate assault.

Mr Paterson said none of the defendants had been in any kind of previous trouble. Dave Foulkes, speaking for all three, said they were keen fans who regularly went to matches.

After the case Christopher Nelson told the Evening News: “As far as I am concerned there was no way it was a football-related incident. I was just protecting myself and my family.”

Speaking after the case, a spokesman for Norwich City Football Club said: “The reputation of Norwich City fans for good behaviour up and down the country is an excellent one. The matter dealt with in this case is very much an exception rather than the rule.”

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