Soccer Fan Jailed 4 Months For Drunken Assault Of Goalkeeper During English League Game

By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran
By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran

A soccer hooligan was jailed for four monts Monday for assaulting a goalkeeper during an English league game following an all-day drinking binge.

Aaron Cawley, a 21-year-old from Cheltenham, told police he was so intoxicated after drinking a mix of lager, cider and vodka that he doesn't remember joining a pitch invasion and shoving former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland in the face during Sheffield Wednesday's match against Leeds on Friday.

Cawley, a Leeds fans, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of assault and entering the field of play when he appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court. He received a six-year banning order from football grounds - the third time he has been handed such a sanction.

Leeds said it will ban Cawley for life from the team's Elland Road ground once the banning order expires, but felt the sentence was too lenient.

"While we are pleased to see justice brought so quickly, our one disappointment is that we feel the sentence could, and should, have been considerably longer," Leeds said in a statement.

Kirkland, who plays for Wednesday and won his one cap for England in 2006, needed medical treatment after being knocked to the ground by Cawley amid violent scenes at Hillsborough, which was all broadcast live on British television. Kirkland told police it was like he had been "hit by a ton of bricks."

The Football Association has launched an investigation into the crowd trouble at the game, which also saw bottles being thrown onto the pitch and offensive chanting from both sets of fans.

Prosecutors said Cawley, an unemployed laborer, told police officers he had consumed several cans of lager and three-quarters of a liter of vodka before he had arrived in Sheffield by train. He said he then drank as many as 10 pints of cider before the match started.

Judge Naomi Redhouse was told that Cawley, who has breached his football banning orders four times, only realized what he had done when other people told him and he saw himself on TV. He immediately made contact with police.


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