Fan banned for four years

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A MAN has been given a jail warning and banned from following Coleraine FC for four years after pleading guilty to his latest act of football hooliganism.

Aaron Fielding appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday and admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour which occurred when up to 50 Coleraine fans confronted Linfield supporters after a dramatic league game earlier this year.

Fielding (21) of Cromlech Park, Portstewart, was at the front of the gang which was spotted by police moving towards an exit at Coleraine Showgrounds where Linfield fans were leaving on Saturday February 20 this year. Fielding had been set to contest his case at court on Friday but pleaded guilty at the last moment.

A prosecutor said police were on duty at the match and as the game ended they spotted around 40-50 Coleraine supporters approaching the Linfield exit.

The fans were shouting abuse at Linfield supporters and at the head of the group Fielding was “highly agitated, aggressive and hostile”.

Defence solicitor Derwin Harvey said his client is currently serving a Community Service Order for a previous offence. A prosecutor said Fielding had previous football-related convictions.

District Judge Liam McNally noted Fielding’s record and said he was very close to receiving a custodial term.

The prosecutor said she was applying for a Football Banning Order and said the minimum is three years and the maximum five and a previous case at the court saw a four year ban handed out.

Judge McNally told Fielding: “You have a bad record and it appears when you get to football matches you lose all sense”.

He imposed a four months jail term suspended for two years and banned Fielding from following Coleraine FC for four years.

As part of the Football Banning Order he is not allowed to be within a mile of any ground when Coleraine are playing and he is also banned from being within one mile of Coleraine Showgrounds from two hours before until two hours after any game.

The judge told Fielding: “It is time to bring this record to an end”.