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Southampton fan Kevin Cooper banned from matches after taunting Sunderland fans
A FOOTBALL fan has been banned from going to matches for three years after breaking through a steward cordon at a Saints match to launch foul-mouthed abuse at away fans.
It took five stewards to hold back Kevin Cooper after he knocked past a steward, before taunting Sunderland fans during a match earlier this season.
His actions almost caused a major security issue at the game, as a number of Sunderland fans surged towards the home support after he hurled abuse at them.
Yesterday the 29-year-old admitted one count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour during the match on August 24.
Magistrates have banned him from attending any football matches in the UK over the next three years, while he will also have to surrender his passport to police during certain matches abroad, such as next year’s World Cup.
Unemployed Cooper, of Lower Brownhill Road in Millbrook, was in a stand near to the Sunderland fans as the match neared its close.
With Saints 1-0 down, José Fonte scored a late equaliser to share the points. At that point Cooper got up and ran towards the away fans to celebrate, barging past a female steward in the process.
While five stewards struggled to hold him back before he was eventually led away, a number of enraged Sunderland supporters surged towards the home fans, causing stewards to have to force them back.
At yesterday’s hearing at Southampton Magistrates Court, Caroline Jones, defending, said she apologised on his behalf, adding: “Mr Cooper accepts that in running over and effectively gloating to the away fans that his behaviour could well have caused problems.”
As well as banning him from all regulated football matches in the UK for the next three years and having to surrender his passport during selected matches outside of the country, he will have to report to Southampton Central police station to have further conditions added by the police.
Magistrates also ordered that he pay a fine of £30, costs of £40 and a victim surcharge of £20.
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