Banned Sunderland fan begged a judge to let him go to Wembley – he failed

NO GO ... Hooligan Gary Breeds cannot go to Wembley.
NO GO ... Hooligan Gary Breeds cannot go to Wembley.
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HOOLIGAN Gary Breeds has been shown the red card after asking a judge to overturn his football banning order – so he can go to Wembley.

The 44-year-old former member of the notorious soccer thug-gang “Seaburn Casuals” has been kept away from matches under a three-year court order.

But that order comes to an end just days after Sunday’s big match – which Breeds wanted to attend.

At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, the Fulwell yob’s defence team made an application for the ban to be lifted early, allowing him to cheer on SAFC in the Capital One Cup Final.

But Judge Roger Thorn QC refused the request and said: “He can enjoy watching the match on television.”

The judge ordered Breeds, a former youth team player at the club, to pay £425 costs for the court hearing, which he did not attend in person.

Breeds, formerly of South View, Fulwell, Sunderland, was given the banning order in March 2011 after his affray conviction following a flare-up of mass violence at Newcastle Central Station in 2009.

During violent clashes with police, Breeds was seen on all fours, barking at police dogs, and played a prominent role in the violence that day.

Glen Gatland, defending, said Breeds’s behaviour has been “impeccable” since the incident and applied for the banning, order, which is due to expire on March 17, to be lifted early so he can support his team at Wembley.

Mr Gatland said: “This weekend there is a very important match for Sunderland fans, which involves Sunderland and Manchester City on Sunday, March 2, playing in the final at Wembley.

“I am not a football fan myself, I confess, but I am told it is not very frequent that Sunderland go to Wembley, for whatever reason. They are the underdogs in all of this and I remember in 1973, Sunderland played Leeds as the underdogs.

“Because it so rare that Sunderland go to Wembley, that is why, although there are about two weeks left for the order to expire, Mr Breeds has made the application.”

Mr Gatland said as a former youth player at the club, Breeds, who works away in Kent, is close to coaching staff there and wishes to give them his support on the big day.

Mr Gatland added; “He will have a ticket if this application is allowed. He can get a ticket through his links at the football club.”

Kevin Wardlaw said the prosecution authorities objected to the ban being lifted early, even though it would be just a matter of days.

Mr Wardlaw said: “The crown want simply to say it was not the first time he has been involved in football related violence.

“This is part of the punishment for the offences which he pleaded guilty to.

“The crown would take the view, if a ticket is available, it should go to a fan who has not been involved themselves in such violence in the past, given how scarce tickets are.”

Many life-long Sunderland fans, who do not hold season cards, have been left disappointed after the club’s ticket allocation sold out.

Judge Thorn said in coming to his decision to reject the application, he had read evidence about Breeds’s violent background, which includes other offences of public disorder.

The judge said: “I have read statements from the police about the problems the Seaburn Casuals have caused.

“This is a finely balanced application and I am sympathetic to Mr Gary Breeds, wanting to be permitted, if he can get a ticket, to attend this important match.

“On the other hand, I must have regard to the nature of the incident and ensure the like should never occur, especially at Wembley, away from this area, where it may be more difficult to police fans.

“Given this individual’s previous convictions and his involvement in matters as a front-running player in violent disorder, I must remain loyal to the original order of the sentencing judge.

“I refuse this application.”