Foul-mouthed fan banned for abusing Sunderland boss Steve Bruce

Mark Mann

Mark Mann

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A BLACK Cats’ fan has been banned from watching Sunderland and England play after he hurled a torrent of vile abuse at manager Steve Bruce.

Mark Mann, 24, of Seafields, Seaburn, was hit with a three-year football banning order for his shameful behaviour, including an incident during a pre-season friendly against Brighton, in Portugal, last July.

On that occasion, Mann, fuelled by drink, repeatedly shouted and swore at the Sunderland boss.

Footage taken by Northumbria Police officers was shown in evidence at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court of other Black Cats supporters angry at Mann’s behaviour.

He was warned about his conduct by a Portuguese police officer and then by Sergeant Glen Patterson, of Northumbria Police’s Football Unit.

However, Mann was allowed to return to his seat and continue watching the remainder of the game.

Mann was also recorded by Northumbria Police spotter Pc Michael Crow shouting obscenities at rival fans in a game at Birmingham in October 2009.

He has a number of drunk and disorderly offences stretching back to a Sunderland away match at Wigan in 2007.

Ian Cassidy, defending, argued that because Mann was allowed to continue watching the matches in Portugal and at Birmingham he shouldn’t be given a banning order.

“They took him aside both times and spoke to him,” said Mr Cassidy.

“They did not evict him, he was allowed to be warned about his behaviour.

“The police are allowing the man to go back into the ground to watch the game. It must be a nonsense.”

Mann, who is unemployed, argued he had “turned a corner” and had not been in any trouble at Sunderland matches he had attended since last July.

He added that he recently started a course which he hopes will get him back into work.

However, his plea fell on deaf ears and magistrates decided to impose a banning order on him.

Chairman of the bench David Crowe said: “We have seen you using abusive and insulting words.

“It’s apparent that you were probably drunk and there’s a record that drink plays a significant part in your life.

“We are satisfied in making a banning order.”

Because of where he lives, Mann will no longer be able to go into licensed premises surrounding the Stadium of Light four hours before or after kick-off at a Sunderland home game.

He is also banned from going within five miles of a stadium where a Sunderland away or England match is being played.

Speaking after the case Temporary Superintendent Bruce Storey, of Northumbria Police, said: “Mann’s fellow supporters were appalled by his behaviour and this banning order will demonstrate to them that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

“This order also warns people like Mann that wherever they go – be it home or abroad – they are in our sights.”