Halifax teen football fan handed banning order for throwing missile at Burnley match

Turf Moor, the home of Burnley FC (Google Street View)
Turf Moor, the home of Burnley FC (Google Street View)

A teenage Burnley football fan from Halifax lobbed a plastic bottle onto the pitch at Turf Moor, almost hitting Leicester City goalie Kasper Schmeichel, a court heard.

Season ticket holder Matthew Crowther hurled the missile "in frustration" at the end of his team's Premier League game against Leicester on March 16th, after the Clarets lost. Schmeichel handed the green plastic soft drink bottle to security staff.

The hearing was told they spoke to the 19-year-old apprentice plumber's mother on the phone. She was equally unimpressed with his behaviour and told them: "I will give him a right telling off."

Burnley magistrates have now given Crowther a three-year football banning order. They told the keen amateur cricketer to sell his season ticket to a mate and added: "So, you play your cricket. Get in the nets and take your frustration out there."

Mr Andrew Robinson (prosecuting) said the bottle, thrown from the lower tier of the Jimmy McIlroy stand, narrowly missed Kasper Schmeichel. Security staff managed to ascertain which seat it was thrown from and knew, from club records, it was Crowther.

The prosecutor said Crowther arranged to go into Burnley police station. He was formally interviewed by officers and made a full and frank admission. Mr Robinson told the court: "He said he was stupid. He was just so angry that Burnley lost. He understood what he did was wrong."

Mr Philip Turner (defending) said Crowther had no previous convictions and lived with his parents. His mother, clearly, was not impressed by his actions.

Mr Turner told the court: "It was at the end of the match. It was a plastic bottle, thrown from the lower tier. It wasn't aimed at anybody. It was thrown onto the pitch in frustration at Burnley having lost, I believe, in the final stages of the match."

The solicitor said it was not suggested by the prosecution that the defendant was a football hooligan or that there was any police intelligence linking him to crowd trouble. He went on: "We are not told he was encouraging anybody else to act in the manner he did."

Crowther, of Natty Fields Close, Halifax, admitted throwing a missile onto a football playing area. He was given a six-month conditional discharge and was told to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

The Bench chairman told Crowther: !I know that is going to hurt you more than the conditional discharge, but a message has to be sent that when you do something like that, at that moment in time your behaviour is irresponsible.

"Hopefully, in three years' time, when you go to your next football match, you will remember this as a salutary lesson."