Racist fan banned for Town player abuse

A SHEFFIELD Wednesday season ticket holder who racially abused an Ipswich Town player during a match is today banned from watching his team play at home.

A SHEFFIELD Wednesday season ticket holder who racially abused an Ipswich Town player during a match is today banned from watching his team play at home.

Carl Boulton had been given a curfew order at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich prohibiting him from watching his team play for three months.

After hearing about the 38-year-old's conviction, Sheffield Wednesday football club also imposed a ban on Boulton attending any games at Hillsborough.

Boulton, of Church View, Swinton, was arrested during the game on August 20 as his team trailed 2-0. The court heard how he was becoming “extremely frustrated” at his team's performance, when a black Ipswich player was called to speak to the referee.

Godfried Duah, prosecuting, said Boulton shouted: “Don't book me because I'm black” and then, minutes later, he continued: “Because I'm a black player, you didn't book me”.

The same Ipswich player was later involved in another incident with the referee, at which point Boulton stood up and shouted an offensive racist remark.

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It emerged a fellow visiting supporter took offence to the racist language and promptly asked him to stop.

Mr Duah said: “The defendant replied 'do we live in Britain or is it a fascist country? I can say what I like'.”

It was at this point that the female supporter reported Boulton to stewards and police.

The court heard that Boulton had four previous convictions for public order offences, one at a football match.

Mark Holt, mitigating, said Boulton was an avid Sheffield Wednesday supporter and had been a season ticket holder for the past 22 years.

He said: “I would ask you don't impose a football banning order. If you take football out of his life it would affect him greatly. His season ticket cost £300 and if you ban him it would be worthless.”

Boulton, a brick setter, was given a curfew order for three months preventing him from going out between 8pm and 5.30am from Sunday to Friday. However, on Saturdays, when matches usually take place, Boulton was ordered to remain at home between noon and midnight.

After the court case Sheffield Wednesday issued a statement which read: “We encourage all our supporters to report anti-social behaviour. We are delighted that this report from a fan has helped to secure a conviction.

“In addition to his court punishment, he will be banned from Hillsborough.

“Before we determine the length of the ban we need to get the full report from the police.

“However, on previous occasions we have given season-long bans for similar offences.”

N What do you think should be done to fans who racially abuse players? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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