A COUNCIL town planner was one of a group of respected dads involved in a derby day brawl which a judge described as “madness”.
Violence flared in Sunderland train station on October 27 after the city team beat rivals Newcastle 2-1.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the men involved, who all have jobs and families, had not been at the game and had been watching the match in city bars.
Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite told the court: “The case concerns violence between two groups at Sunderland Metro that happened after a derby between Newcastle and Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
“They are not rival fans and had watched in a pub.
“Police were, of course, dealing with large scale disorder arising from the match.”
Sunderland council planner Idris Balarabe, 36, of Whitburn Terrace, East Boldon, Jeffrey Moorhouse, 36, of Davison Street, Boldon Colliery, Kevin Brown, 30, of Raby Gardens, Hartlepool and Peter Grylls, 30, of Durham Street, Hartlepool, all admitted public order offences.
CCTV footage of the violence, which lasted less than a minute once it erupted, showed punches and kicks being thrown between the warring groups, involving around six people.
Judge John Evans said: “This is the most disgraceful incident.
“We have got four or five men in the dock, there should be more in the dock, who all behaved with the maturing of people about 15 or 16.
“Their good characters makes it extraordinary.”
The judge sentenced all four men to 12 month community orders with unpaid work and costs.
The judge told the men their involvement in such offending was “madness” and added: “What caused you to do this is simply beyond my understanding.
“You all ought to feel thoroughly ashamed of yourselves.”
Jane Foley, defending Balarabe, said: “He is a very industrious, well educated man. He works at Sunderland city council planning department.
“His role was fairly minimal.”
Paul Currer, defending Moorhouse, handed in testimonials to his ordinarily positive good character, his work and family commitments and remorse.
Christopher Dorman o’Gowan, defending contracts worker Brown, said: “He describes this as a ‘very bad error of judgement’ which is understatement of the day or perhaps his life.”
Richard Herrmann, defending Grylls, said: “He completely took leave of his senses. “Nobody comes out of this with any credit whatsoever.
“The men all effectively apologise to each other and go their separate ways.”