Burnley fan banned after shouting racist abuse at Premier League player

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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A 58-year-old Burnley fan who hurled racist abuse at Premier League player Marvin Zeegelaar has been banned from all football matches for three years.

Jonathan Embury launched the foul-mouthed tirade during a game Turf Moor, after Zeegelaar, who plays for Watford, tackled Clarets player Steven Defour and was sent off.

Embury swore, repeatedly used the "n-word," and yelled: "Get back to the jungle." He then did monkey noises and shouted: "Send them all back. Get the British National Party in power," a court heard.

Prosecutor Mrs Alex Mann told Burnley magistrates that the man sitting next to the defendant was so distressed by what he described as the "horrible" racist comments towards the Watford player he reported the incident to the police.

She said: "The witness says "He (the defendant) was shouting very loudly so that other people could hear them. I was extremely upset. I was too scared to confront him. I didn't want to cause a scene. Another member of the public said something to him. The man, who appeared to be on his own, was looking angry and stressed."

Mrs Mann said Embury was interviewed by police. She went on: "He expressed remorse for his actions and knew his actions were wrong, saying he would do anything to make things right."

The prosecutor had told the hearing: "The defendant has pleaded guilty and this is his first conviction. It's a real shame, bearing in mind particularly the nature of the offence as well."

Mr John Rusius, defending Embury, said: "To say he's very ashamed of what happened is very much an understatement."

The solicitor said the tackle was "particularly bad". He continued: "But, of course, all that is irrelevant. It doesn't excuse any sort of response. He said things in the heat of the moment that were totally out of character and were totally unacceptable."

Mr Rusius told the court Embury would say he was not a racist and he had friends from many different backgrounds. The defendant reacted on the spur of the moment and said he then apologised to the people around him." The solicitor went on: "He says, 'I was spoken to by the police voluntarily. If I could do anything to turn the clock back I would have done so'."

Mr Rusius added: "He is so ashamed he says he is never going to go to a football match again. He is so embarrassed.

"A football banning order would not be necessary. It was a silly moment of madness. He has shown great remorse and regret. "

Embury, of Rossendale Road, Burnley, admitted racially aggravated harassment/ alarm/ distress by words, last December 9th. He was fined £155, with £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge. The defendant was made subject to a three-year football banning order, barring him from all soccer games.