A steel company boss has been hit with a £1,060 court bill – after he took a £3.40 bottle of cider into the Stadium of Light stands.
Stoke City fan John Wright, 55, picked up the drink on the concourse away end during his side’s 2-0 loss to Sunderland on November 28, but then broke the rules by sitting down with a pal to drink it in an area next to the disabled seats.
To make matters worse Stoke lost on that particular dayIain Palmer, defending
While his friend immediately complied with stewards when he was asked to leave, Wright, a director at Steelzone UK Access Ltd in Staffordshire, ended up in the cells after arguing with security staff, Sunderland magistrates heard.
Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “This incident takes place during the second half in the disabled area, where the first five rows are kept clear and you are not allowed to sit.”
The court heard two people were seen to sit down drinking from plastic bottles of Magner’s cider and are told to leave.
“One person does comply,” Mr Anderson said. “Unfortunately, this gentleman does not comply and he becomes a little bit abusive, to which police arrive.
“He is asked to move along and he’s clenched his fists. He smells quite strongly of alcohol, his eyes are described as glazed and red.
“He is told ‘we are going to throw you out of the ground’ but he refuses to go.
“The officers’ patience then gave way, and it has no doubt cost him a pretty penny coming back up here today.”
Wright, of Checkley Road, Waterhayes, Newcastle-under-Lyme, pleaded guilty to possession of an intoxicating liquor during a designated sporting event. He has no previous convictions, the court was told.
Iain Palmer, defending, said: “This is a clear case where alcohol is sold within the ground. He bought one plastic bottle of cider.
“He’s charged with having possession of a bottle of cider during the period he was within the sports ground. There has been no evidence of violence or public disorder.
“He is director of a steel installation company, that may mean he is having to pay quite a lot as a financial penalty. Based on his relevant weekly income of £750, this is likely to be quite high.
“He has travelled up from Stoke and to make matters worse Stoke lost on that particular day.”
Wright was fined £750, with a £75 victim surcharge, £150 criminal courts charge and £85 costs.
No football banning order was imposed.