City give racist fans life ban from the club

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By ASHLIE BLAKEY

A Manch­ester City fan who yelled racist re­marks at play­ers has been handed a foot­ball ban­ning or­der - his friend has been banned too.

James Mc­Connell, 57, was watch­ing City play Bournemout­h at the Eti­had Sta­dium on De­cem­ber 1, 2018, when he made racist re­marks to­wards some of the play­ers and stew­ards.

He went on to threaten a man who told him his be­hav­iour was ‘un­ac­cept­able.’

Mc­Connell has now been banned from foot­ball matches for five years.

His friend Ian Baldry, 58, was also heard us­ing racist lan­guage to­wards Blues star Ra­heem Ster­ling and was handed the same ban.

Manch­ester City bosses have now is­sued the pair with life­time bans at the club.

A club spokesper­son said: “Fol­low­ing the sentencing of Ian Baldry and James Mc­Connell at Manch­ester Mag­is­trates’ Court and in line with Manch­ester City’s zero tol­er­ance ap­proach to dis­crim­i­na­tion, life­time bans have been is­sued by the Club.”

GMP say Mc­Connell was heard us­ing racist lan­guage to de­scribe two stew­ards al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter the game started.

Wit­nesses say he was drunk and abu­sive through­out the first half.

He was con­stantly us­ing foul lan­guage to in­sult play­ers on the pitch, po­lice say.

At half-time, Mc­Connell was joined by two of his friends one of which was Baldry

- and the abu­sive be­hav­iour con­tin­ued.

In the sec­ond half, one of the Bournemout­h play­ers was stood close to the Colin Bell Stand when Mc­Connell loudly made a com­ment about his race. Later in the half, Baldry was heard us­ing racist lan­guage to de­scribe Ra­heem Ster­ling, Manch­ester Mag­is­trates’ Court heard at a hear­ing in Septem­ber.

Baldry’s de­fence lawyer Tahir Ayub said his client re­alised ‘the er­ror of his words al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter they were said.’

”He is one of Mr Baldry’s favourite play­ers, he says he would give him a hug and kiss him for scor­ing that goal”, Mr Ayub added. Mc­Connell, who had pre­vi­ously been seen shout­ing racist com­ments in the di­rec­tion of a City player, was con­fronted by another fan.

He told him his lan­guage was ‘un­ac­cept­able’ and that he needed to stop be­ing racist.

But Mc­Connell took is­sue with this and be­came ag­gres­sive. He threat­ened the man and the vic­tim had to be led away by a friend. Mc­Connell, of New­dale Road, Leven­shulme, pleaded guilty to racially ag­gra­vated pub­lic or­der and as­sault at Manch­ester Mag­is­trates’ Court.

He was sen­tenced to 250 hours of un­paid com­mu­nity work, a 16-week suspended sen­tence and a five-year ban­ning or­der. Baldry, of Bradley Street, Brad­ford, ad­mit­ted one charge of racially ag­gra­vated pub­lic or­der.

He was sen­tenced yes

Ra­heem Ster­ling ter­day to 200 hours of un­paid com­mu­nity work and a five-year ban­ning or­der.

De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble Chris Pre­ston of GMP’s City of Manch­ester Di­vi­sion said: “There are few words that can be used to de­scribe the be­hav­iour of Mc­Connell and Baldry dur­ing this in­ci­dent but their ac­tions were ab­so­lutely dis­gust­ing.

“For them to brazenly and loudly use racist lan­guage in front of nu­mer­ous other spec­ta­tors as though it was com­pletely nor­mal is as­ton­ish­ing.

“The fact that they were quite happy to also racially abuse play­ers from the team they claim to sup­port just goes to show the close mind­ed­ness of these in­di­vid­u­als and I want to pay trib­ute to those fans who iden­ti­fied what was hap­pen­ing and raised the is­sue with a nearby stew­ard.

“Thank­fully peo­ple like Mc­Connell and Baldry make up only a small mi­nor­ity of spec­ta­tors at­tend­ing foot­ball matches.

“They don’t re­flect the wider crowd of law abid­ing members of the pub­lic seek­ing to en­joy a trip out to watch their favourite team.

“How­ever, racism at foot­ball matches sim­ply will not be tol­er­ated by Greater Manch­ester Po­lice and we are pre­pared to take pos­i­tive ac­tion against any­one seek­ing to take part in this kind of be­hav­iour.”

Ian Baldry

James Mc­Connell

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