Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 15:28 UK

Match ban for Bellamy clash fan

Craig Bellamy
Bellamy scored twice in the match, which finished 4-3 to United

A fan who ran on to the Old Trafford pitch and was shoved by Manchester City's Craig Bellamy has been banned from all matches for three years.

Bricklayer Jake Clarke, 21, from Chorley, Lancashire, admitted sprinting on to the pitch during Manchester United's 4-3 win over City.

He told Trafford Magistrates he "deeply regrets" his behaviour at the match on 20 September.

Bellamy will not face any charges for pushing the fan in the face.

Clarke who admitted the charge of "entering a playing area during a designated football match" was confronted by Bellamy, who had just seen Michael Owen score United's injury-time winner.

Player and fan clashed and Clarke had to be restrained by four stewards. He told officers he "got over-excited" and "just wanted to celebrate with the players".

Is it right that this defendant is made subject to a banning order when the player who took the action is just given a warning?
Ian Huggan, defending Mr Clarke

"I'm gutted about what I have done. I know it was a stupid action. I just wanted to celebrate," he said to the court.

Steve Woodman, prosecuting, said: "The defendant's actions could well have caused a full scale pitch invasion.

"It will have been viewed by millions across the world," he said.

He showed CCTV footage of the incident, and said Manchester United are considering imposing their own ban on Clarke.

Manchester City could have equalised if it had not been for Clarke, he suggested.

"It was a very tense, very high profile match. The game went right down to the wire."

'Possible violence'

Ian Huggan, defending, said football was a large part of Clarke's life and he attended around 40 games a season.

"This was a foolish mistake by Mr Clarke. It has caused a lot of concern and anxiety for the people involved," he admitted.

But he asked the court not to impose a ban, asking: "Is it right that this defendant is made subject to a banning order when the player who took the action is just given a warning?"

But Anne Marie Evans, chair of the magistrates' bench, decided to ban Clarke from all football matches for three years, and imposed a fine of £305.

She said: "Your explanation was that you wanted to celebrate. This does not give you any right to run onto the pitch.

"Your actions could have resulted in disorder and possible violence."

Speaking outside court, Mr Huggan said Clarke was "extremely disappointed" by the decision and is considering taking further action.

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