Sport : Football

Derby pitch invader says sorry

10th December 2012, 03:50pm

Matthew Stott is restrained by Rio Ferdinand

Matthew Stott is restrained by Rio Ferdinand

The Manchester City fan who ran on to the pitch and tried to confront Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand in Sunday's derby match has apologised, his solicitors said on Monday.

Matthew Stott, 21, had to be restrained by City keeper Joe Hart and was arrested following Robin van Persie's late winner at the Etihad Stadium.

He was subsequently charged with pitch encroachment.

Speaking through his solicitors Stephen Lickrish and Associates he confessed his guilt - and said sorry to the Manchester United defender.

In a statement, the landscape gardener, from Knutsford, said: "I would like to apologise to all those affected by my actions yesterday, particularly Mr Ferdinand and the other players.

"I am extremely ashamed of my actions. I have let myself down, my family down, my fellow fans down and Manchester City Football Club.

"I intend to write personally to Mr Ferdinand to express my extreme regret and apologies and also apologise to Manchester United and their fans.

"I would like to thank Joe Hart for his actions when I came on the pitch.

"I have been a fan of Manchester City Football Club all my life and I have been a season ticket holder for three years and I attend the games with my father. I have had the same seat in the section next to the away fans for those three years."

Rebecca Caulfield, solicitor at Stephen Lickrish & Associates, is representing Stott.

She said: "Mr Stott is a hard-working man who has held a full-time job as a landscape gardener for four years and lives with his partner of five years.

"He has never been to court before and has never been in trouble with any of the stewards at Manchester City Football Club before, or at any other ground.

"He is extremely remorseful and is mortified by his behaviour, which is completely out of character.

"This was a momentary mistake by Mr Stott, which has led to him being charged, brought shame on his family, and will bring sanctions on the club that Mr Stott has supported all his life."

She added: "Mr Stott will accept the consequences of his actions.

"He would like to make clear that he is not the stereotypical drunken football fan but a fan that attends games with his father.

"He is embarrassed and ashamed of his temporary moment of madness that has brought wider consequences on the club he supports and his fellow fans."

Police charged a total of nine people, including for a racially aggravated public order offence, pitch encroachment, breach of football banning orders and other public offences - including being drunk and disorderly.

In addition one man was arrested but released without charge for ticket touting, a woman was cautioned for being drunk and disorderly, a 45-year-old male was summonsed over a racially aggravated public order offence while another man remains in police custody on suspicion of possessing a class A drug.

A police spokesman said they were continuing to work with City to identify the offender who threw a coin at Ferdinand, cutting the defender above his left eye as he celebrated the winning goal.

"To have just 13 arrests for a crowd of this size and a match of this proportion is a testament to the policing operation we put in place," said Chief Inspector Steve Howard.

"Despite fierce rivalry and high tension there was no major disorder. However, we will continue to investigate the coin-throwing incident and are determined to work with the club to bring the perpetrator to justice."

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