Three-year match ban for Norwich City fans

Nine Norwich City supporters who hurled abuse and heckled opposing fans outside a city pub have been banned from football matches for three years.

Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard how the drama unfolded before the Canaries played Leeds United at home on March 27 last season. City fans had been drinking at Rocco’s in Prince of Wales Road and were making their way towards the ground to watch the match.

Norwich City supporters had been directed by police down Prince of Wales Road and past the Compleat Angler, the designated away fans’ pub, the court heard.

The City fans then congregated on Foundry Bridge and started shouting “we hate Leeds scum” and Galatasaray, the name of the Turkish team Leeds United played in the semi-final of the Uefa Cup in 2000 when two fans got stabbed to death.

The abusive behaviour was captured on CCTV and a hand-held camera used by police. Nine men, who appeared at court this week, were charged at a later date.

Dale Creasey, 49, of The Avenues, Sheringham, William Vincent, 18, Brakefield Green, Yaxham, and Christopher Sellex, 20, of Ella Road, Norwich, pleaded guilty to using abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour which would provoke violence.

Adam Mayo, 26, of Waterloo Road, Hainford, Christopher O’Dwyer, 53, of The Close, Corton, Andrew Reynolds, of St Valery Lane, King’s Lynn, and Saul Simpson, 40, of Eagle Walk, Norwich, all admitted using threatening or abusive words and behaving disorderly. Graham Riches, 36, of Highland Road, Norwich, and John Miller, 38, of Three Mile Lane, Norwich, both denied a charge of public disorder and obstructing the pavement but were found guilty. Prosecuting, Oliver Haswell said: “The group chanted as they approached the Compleat Angler. There was no trouble before then and it’s been said how the Leeds fans had been in ‘good spirits’ and ‘peaceful’.”

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The court heard how there were about 450 Leeds United fans in the pub at the time and about 150 Norwich City fans who gathered on the bridge.

The court heard how police officers had to hold back the Leeds fans with batons and dogs and formed a barricade between the Norwich fans and the visitors. A bottle was thrown from the Leeds fans to the Norwich fans and coins were thrown.

The crowd only dispersed when traffic along Prince of Wales Road came to a standstill and a double decker bus obscured the view from one side of the bridge to the other. In mitigation, Alan Wheetman, representing Creasey, Mayo, O’Dwyer and Simpson, said: “On this day we are dealing with, a whole number of things went wrong. Normally, Norwich fans leave Rocco’s in small friendly groups but on this occasion there was a further complication in that there was another group of Leeds fans in the Kings pub in King Street. All the Norwich fans wanted was to get across the bridge and around the corner and on their way. The Norwich fans wouldn’t have gone looking for trouble down by the Compleat Angler but would’ve gone on their normal route along King Street.”

All nine men have been banned from football for three years. Mayo, O’Dwyer, Reynolds, Sellex and Vincent were fined �250 and ordered to pay �50 costs and �15 victim surcharge.

Creasey, Miller, Riches and Simpson are all facing unpaid work and will be back in court on Tuesday.