Police chief issues warning after Coventry City supporter hit with banning order for throwing smoke grenade at Sunderland AFC game at Stadium of Light

A police chief hopes the five-year banning order handed to a Coventry City fan for throwing a smoke grenade at the recent game with Sunderland AFC at the Stadium of Light will act as a deterrent to others.
Coventry City fan Daniel Nealon.Coventry City fan Daniel Nealon.
Coventry City fan Daniel Nealon.

Daniel Nealon picked up an already ‘live’ smoke bomb and threw it towards a group of fans before last month's fixture.

Magistrates in South Tyneside were told that an intoxicated Nealon, who was in the away end of the ground, grabbed the canister that had been let off by another fan and waved it above his head.

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Police then saw the 28-year-old, who has previously served a ban for football-related offences, throw it into a crowd of people.

Nealon, of David Wood Drive, Coventry, appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last week where he pleaded guilty to causing harassment, alarm or distress and was handed a 13-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.He was also banned from attending all regulated football matches in the UK for the next five years, which includes Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two and Conference fixtures.

The banning order also prevents Nealon from travelling abroad to watch international friendlies, qualification matches and tournaments.

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police, said: “While the overwhelming majority of football fans behaved responsibly that day, the actions of a small minority spoiled the day for many and caused unacceptable levels of disruption.

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“Daniel Nealon endangered the lives of others when he grabbed a lit smoke grenade and hurled it into a group of fellow fans. This was one of a number of disappointing incidents that occurred at the game in question, and we have taken action against a number of other perpetrators.

“Nealon must now live with the consequences of his reckless actions and has been banned from every football stadium in the UK until 2024. I hope this banning order acts as a lesson to any supporter who causes trouble on matchdays.

“I would like to remind fans that banning orders not only prevent you from watching regulated football matches in the UK for a fixed period, but they can also affect your future career prospects as they may be disclosed to potential employers through a vetting process or DBS check.”

A second Coventry City fan, Ben Thackeray, 36, also appeared before magistrates following an incident after the game, which finished 5-4 to the visitors.

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Thackeray, of Delamere, Bedworth, Warwickshire, was arrested for allegedly jumping on the back of a police officer to attack another man, who had been detained and was being led away by officers in handcuffs.

Thackeray admitted punching his victim and is due to be sentenced later this month.