Newcastle United season ticket holder gets five-year banning order for racially abusing Liverpool players
A Newcastle United season ticket holder has received a five-year football banning order - and been banned from St James's Park indefinitely - after being convicted of racially abusing Liverpool players.
Michael Collins was observed directing racist abuse at players as part of an undercover stewarding operation during a Premier League game at St James's Park on May 4 and was subsequently arrested by Northumbria Police.
After being found guilty of racially aggravated harassment at North Tyneside Magistrates Court, he has now been formally handed a five-year football banning order, meaning he will be banned from attending all home and away matches in that period.
Newcastle United has banned Collins from the stadium for an indefinite period.
NUFC head of security Steve Storey, head of safety and security at Newcastle United, said: "Racism has absolutely no place at St. James’ Park or in our city and we will continue to do everything we can to drive it out of football and society.
"We want to send a clear message that any instances of discrimination will be dealt with as strongly as possible by the club with the support of Northumbria Police and other agencies
"St. James’ Park is a wonderful place to experience football and, together with our supporters and partners, we will continue to ensure it is a welcoming, inclusive and vibrant place for everyone."
Chief Inspector Chris Grice, who was Northumbria Police’s match commander for the game, said: "There is absolutely no place in society for racism, whether that is in the middle of the
street, on social media or at a football match.
"We have a fantastic relationship with our region’s football clubs and have been working with them for some time to root out this type of behaviour and stamp out all forms of abuse.
"Newcastle United fans are some of the most passionate football fans in the world and the vast majority of them are well-behaved and a credit to the region.
"We hope this particular conviction, and subsequent banning order, gives those fans the confidence to call out abusive behaviour in the terraces and report it to stewards and the police.
"Northumbria Police will continue to work with the club to make our St. James’ Park a safe environment for all but we need your help to hold people like Michael Collins to account."
Collins, 57, of Olav Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire, appeared before North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, where he was handed the banning order and also fined £550.
If you experience or witness discrimination or feel threatened at St. James’ Park, please speak to your nearest steward or police officer.
Alternatively, please text HELP followed by your seat location and details of the incident to 60070.