Two Ipswich fans fined for abusive behaviour after Norwich play-off game

Police outside Portman Road before the Ipswich v Norwich play off first leg

Police outside Portman Road before the Ipswich v Norwich play off first leg - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Two Ipswich football fans have admitted threatening behaviour offences following the first leg of Town’s play-off game with Norwich.

Season ticket holder Darren Oakley, of Weir Place, Kirton, near Felixstowe, was spared jail after his conviction meant he had breached an 18-week suspended prison term for the second time.

The 23-year-old Ipswich Town Gold Club member pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment when he appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates Court.

He also admitted breaching the suspended sentence he was given in November last year for battery.

Oakley had already breached the sentence in December when he admitted assaulting a police constable, for which he was given a community order.

On Oakley’s latest appearance Wayne Ablitt, prosecuting, said Oakley had shouted abuse at a Norwich supporter twice on leaving Portman Road at around 2.10pm on May 9 following the 1-1 draw.

After his arrest Oakley told police: “It was just banter, let me go. I was pumped up. It was football and just banter.”

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Jeremy Kendall, representing Oakley said: “That game was certainly a very passionate affair. It was probably the biggest game at Portman Road for several years.

“There was banter on both sides. In the annals of football hooliganism, bearing in mind the violence in grounds over the years, I wonder if the police might have been a bit zealous (in arresting Oakley). It was basically banter and that was it. Mr Oakley apologised when he got to the police station.”

Magistrates ordered Oakley to pay a total of £1,000 in fines, costs and compensation to his victim.

Local footballer Scott Marjoram, of Diamond Close, Ipswich, also appeared before the same court to admit threatening behaviour.

The court was told the 29-year-old was arrested at 2.20pm on May 9.

Marjoram had tried to enter the Riverside Hotel opposite the railway station, which was designated as an away supporters’ pub.

A number of police were in the area trying to keep order.

Marjoram was seen with another Ipswich fan attempting to enter the pub.

He shouted and swore on a number of occasions while trying to get in.

A police officer intervened and told Marjoram he was not allowed inside.

The officer tried to lead him away, but Marjoram swore at him, making a personal remark.

Although warned about his language Marjoram was said to have repeated the abuse despite young children and adults being present. He was then arrested.

Marjoram, representing himself, said he had consumed three pints on the day.

He added: “I don’t go to football matches very often. I play football on Saturday.

“It just got out of hand. I was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people.

“I thought we were going past the hotel. Next minute my friend, who was in front of me, just went in so I followed.”

Marjoram was ordered to pay a total of £360 in fines and costs.

Applications for football banning orders against both men were turned down.