Sunderland AFC fan slapped with three year football ban after ‘bar room brawl’ with Coventry City supporters

A Sunderland AFC fan has been banned from attending matches for three years after throwing punches during a ‘bar room brawl’ with Coventry City supporters.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 26th July 2019, 1:54 pm
The fight broke out at The Wheatsheaf in Sunderland, near the Stadium of Light. Picture: Google Streetview.

When Declan Welch arrived at The Wheatsheaf pub in the hours before the Black Cats clash against the Sky Blues on Saturday, April 13, the scene inside was already ‘extremely chaotic’, a court heard.

However he made it worse by singing a Sunderland football song that he knew would rile up the Coventry fans and then got involved in a fight that broke out, magistrates were told.

Welch, 21, of Bink Moss in Washington, admitted a charge of threatening behaviour with intent to cause fear of violence at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

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Prosecutor Rachael Glover played CCTV which showed Welch throwing punches as a large brawl involving several people broke out at the popular matchday pub.

“He makes two punches towards another man in the bar.

“He said that he went in for a pint and it started kicking off and he squared up to someone.”

The court heard that Welch – who has been going to Sunderland games since he was 10 – has expressed remorse and embarrassment for what he did.

Defence solicitor Richard Copsey said the ‘bar room brawl’ was ‘not a pleasant incident’ but that Welch ‘has accepted his part in it’.

“He did not go out searching for trouble, trouble came to him and he reacted badly.”

District Judge Kate Meek said: “You deliberately involved yourself in that altercation when you did not need to. Twice, actually.

“Going toe to toe with people when various people are trying to persuade you to move on.”

She said that the situation in the bar had been ‘highly volatile’.

Welch was given a community order and must carry out unpaid work. He must also pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £85.

Welch was also handed a football banning order which will last three years.

Under the terms of the order, Welch cannot attend Sunderland games for three years and must also stay away from matchday pubs and the surrounding area.