Sunderland AFC fan who ran onto restricted area at Stadium of Light after Black Cats scored crucial winner to fight proposed match ban

A Sunderland AFC fan who ran onto a restricted area at the Stadium of Light after the Black Cats scored a crucial winner is to fight a proposed match ban.

By Gareth Crickmer
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 1:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 1:28 pm

Billy Robson, 26, of Shincliffe Avenue, Hylton Red House, plans to contest Northumbria Police’s application on the grounds it is unjust.

His solicitor said Robson has already been banned from games by the club and believes an extension would be unfair, magistrates in South Tyneside were told.

At a hearing, he pleaded guilty to the charge of going onto an area around the pitch at the Stadium of Light.

Stadium of Light.

Robson did so after striker Nathan Broadhead scored an injury-time winner in the match against Gillingham on Saturday, April 2.

The 95th minute goal gave the Black Cats a 1-0 win and shot them into the play-off places in League One, from where they won promotion.

After his admittance of guilt, prosecutor Clare Irving said the police wanted a football banning order to be imposed.

Such orders usually last three years and restrict supporters from going to club or England international games and from being near a ground on match days.

A member of Northumbria Police’s Football Intelligence Unit was in court to support the application.

Duncan Emmerson, defending, said Robson had already been banned for a year by Sunderland and claimed an extension would be unjust.

Robson will return to the same court on Tuesday, September 13, to contest the application.

Of his confessed offence, Mrs Irving said: “The incident was at the Stadium of Light.

“It was during Sunderland’s game against Gillingham, which was a 3pm kick-off.

“At 4.55pm the stand manager was in the tunnel area when Sunderland scored a goal.

“The defendant ran onto a red pitch-side area. She grabbed the male. This lady escorted him to the north tunnel and alerted the police.

“The whole incident lasted about 30 seconds. She had a clear and unobstructed view.

“There is an application for a football banning order, and a contested hearing will be heard.”

Robson has a single previous conviction for being drunk and disorderly in 2015, it was said.

Mr Emmerson said the ban plan far exceeded Robson’s crime, adding: “He’s already been banned by the club for a year. He is not accused of any violence.”

Mrs Irving denied Robson’s club ban was for a year and insisted it extended only until the outcome of the contested hearing.