Football hooligan told he faces jail term

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A FOOTBALL hooligan has been warned to expect a jail sentence after admitting his part in a brawl at Ash Vale railway station last year.

Guildford Magistrates' Court heard on Monday that Shaun Freeland was part of a group of up to 30 men who stormed the station after Aldershot Town drew with Brentford last October.

The court heard that there had been a heavy police presence at the football match and on nearby trains because both teams were known to have "risk elements" in their supporters – “known to most of us as football hooligans,” added prosecutor Darren Matravers.

Mr Matravers told the magistrates that a group of men had hatched a plan in the Beehive pub in Aldershot High Street to go to Ash Vale station in search of Brentford fans on their way home.

He read the court a statement from PC Martin Vine, who had been on duty at the station. PC Vine described seeing a number of cars speeding into the car park and parking "unusually", and some men getting out and running into the station.

“The men were moving quickly and purposefully. They went onto the platform where the train with the Brentford fans had stopped and their body language was aggressive,” he added.

The court heard the men were shouting "Come on then, we will have you", and were gesturing and swearing at the 150 rival fans on the train, which was also carrying children and elderly passengers.

PC Vine said he and his colleagues shouted to the men to keep back. He added: “They took no notice of us all and carried on shouting and threatening the others [the Brentford fans], with more of their number seemingly arriving by the second.”

The police officers drew their batons, PC Vine added, to try to drive the two groups apart. The Aldershot supporters then started swearing at the police, he said, adding: “The passengers were visibly shocked and alarmed at what was happening.”

Freeland told police he admitted being part of the brawl at the station, but he denied any knowledge of a plan being prepared at the Beehive pub.

The 20-year-old, of Roberts Road in Aldershot, admitted using threatening words or behaviour. Drew Pettifer, defending, asked for sentencing to be adjourned while the probation service prepares reports on the defendant.

Freeland sobbed in the dock as court chairman Richard Mangnall told him: “We take an extremely serious view of this kind of behaviour. It is an absolute menace to society, and we are all thoroughly sick of it.

“You are almost certainly looking at a custodial sentence.”

Freeland was one of 10 men arrested in October. He will be sentenced on May 18 along with Samuel Lennox, 25, of St Michaels Road in Aldershot, and Ian McGuiness, 18, of Woodland Walk in Aldershot.

All the men are on conditional bail. They are banned from going to any Aldershot Town football match and from travelling by train in the four hours before and after home and away games, and must not contact one another directly or indirectly.

As reported in get surrey

November 27, 2009