A life-long Sunderland fan has been banned from matches for three years after he invaded the Stadium of Light pitch wearing a horse mask and stuck two fingers up at Newcastle supporters.
Jackson Adams, 21, donned the joke mask and ran across the pitch to make the offensive gesture at rival fans, while celebrating the Black Cats’s 1-0 derby win on April 5.
Sunderland magistrates heard how Adams was able to run around the pitch with the mask over his face for three minutes before staff managed to catch him.
Adams was poking fun about the incident in which police horse Bud was punched by Newcastle supporter Barry Rogerson, after a previous derby defeat to Sunderland in April 2013.
Rogerson was later jailed for a year and banned from football for six, after pleading guilty to violent disorder.
Prosecutor Glenda Beck said: “This offence took place on April 5, immediately after the Newcastle Sunderland derby game at the Stadium of Light.
The use of the horse mask was clearly intended to incite Newcastle fans, given the well-publicised incident of the assault on a horse during a previous derby game. He was goading the Newcastle fans because they had lost yet another derby gameGlenda Beck, prosecutor
“Mr Adams was seen at 5.55pm climbing onto the pitch from South Stand.
“He ran across the pitch to the North Stand and stuck two fingers up at the Newcastle fans. He was pursued by staff and detained after three minutes. He was then escorted away and arrested by police.
“The use of the horse mask was clearly intended to incite Newcastle fans.
“He was goading the Newcastle fans because they had lost yet another derby game.”
Adams, of Rowan Avenue, Harraton, Washington, admitted going onto the playing area at a football match contrary to the Football Offences Act.
The court heard he has a warning and a reprimand on his record in relation to two previous football-related incidents, one of which involved going onto the pitch.
Representing himself in court, Adams said: “I’m absolutely gutted about it. I buy tickets for each game, but I was planning on getting a season ticket next season. I go to most away games.
“It was just excitement. I haven’t been locked up in years. I don’t want a banning order. I guarantee it won’t happen again. I was locked up for six hours.
“I love Sunderland. It’s not really me, to be honest, I didn’t really think.”
Adams was fined £150 and told to pay £85 costs and £20 surcharge.
Bench chairwoman Doris MacKnight said: “My advice to you is watch it on television from now on, then you can’t get into any trouble.”
Speaking after the case, Jackson Adams said he was gutted at being given a three-year football banning order.
Adams, who works as a cable puller, says it will exclude him from his friends and family who follow Sunderland AFC together.
He will be given a map showing an exclusion area around the Stadium of Light, which he has to keep out of on matchdays, four hours before and after kick-off.
Under the terms of the order, he is also banned from entering licenced premises such as bars and pubs in Sunderland city centre, during the same hours.
He must also not go within a five-mile radius of a football ground in England and Wales, when either England or Sunderland are playing.
This applies to 24 hours before and 12 hours after the game.
When asked how the ban will affect him, Adams said: “Quite a lot really. I go to most away games with all my friends and my brothers.”
He said he did not take the mask into the stadium with the intention of invading the pitch, but that it happened on the spur of the moment.
“That mask has been with me to games everywhere,” he added. “I also took it to Wembley.”