West Brom fan racially abused own player at Town game

An aspiring golf professional is banned from football games for three years today after racially abusing his own team's player at Portman Road.

IPSWICH: An aspiring golf professional is banned from football games for three years today after racially abusing his own team's player.

Nathan Bate pleaded guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court to hurling a torrent of abuse at West Bromwich Albion substitute Ishmael Miller.

The 19-year-old admitted racially aggravated behaviour during Albion's 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town at Portman Road on January 26.

Miller was only on the pitch for the last 25 minutes of the game, from which the Baggies salvaged a point when they equalised deep into injury time.

The court heard Bate, of Rowley Regis, West Midlands, had been shouting various racist phrases at the striker when a female steward intervened.

She asked him to stop, but Bate persisted barracking Miller, particularly when he made a mistake. Police were called and the teenager was arrested.

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He made a full admission of guilt during a police interview and said he had been frustrated with the performance his own team, particularly that of the striker.

The court was told Bate was heard to swear loudly and added that others were also making similar comments.

John Hughes, mitigating, said: “My client is appalled at his behaviour. He is disgusted. He was with a crowd of people. It was out of character. He has no idea why he joined in the behaviour that he did.”

He said Bate, whose mother and grandmother were in court to support him, was a part-time bookmaker's clerk and had ambitions of becoming a golf professional.

Bate did not object to an application for a football banning order to be brought in against him.

District Judge David Cooper fined him �100. He also ordered Bate to pay �85 prosecution costs, as well as a �15 victim surcharge.

In addition, Bate was banned from attending West Bromwich Albion's matches in England and Wales for three years. He is also barred from England international games at home and away.

After the case Pc Marc Norman, Suffolk Constabulary's football intelligence officer, said Bate's punishment sent out a strong message to yobs ahead of the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

As part of the conditions of his football banning order, Bate will have to hand in his passport to the police.

Pc Norman said: “Suffolk Constabulary will not tolerate violent or abusive behaviour inside or outside of a football match, and we will pursue football banning orders where appropriate. This case serves as a warning to other potential troublemakers.”

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