Hearts fan facing ban for throwing coin at rivals
A FAN faces a ban from Tynecastle after throwing a £1 coin at rival supporters during the New Year derby match against Hibs.
Sheriff Derrick McIntyre yesterday ordered a court official to report the conviction to the Hearts football team management.
Andrew Coventry, 22, pled guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to causing a breach of the peace by throwing the coin at rival Hibs fans after the visiting team scored a goal which gave them a three-two lead.
Mr Coventry, of 2 Loganlea Drive, Edinburgh, was caught throwing the money across the pitch towards rival fans during the match at Tynecastle Stadium by police officers.
Fiscal Depute Fiona Scott told the court that the coin fell short of the Hibs stand and landed on the pitch.
Mr Coventry was also spotted taunting rival fans with a union flag and swearing at them. He was arrested by constables and appeared yesterday in court from custody.
Defence agent Alistair Watson said that the unemployed man had been a life-long Hearts supporter and his likely ban would create a hole in his life.
He had played the sport seriously as a schoolboy and was on the verge of becoming professional, he said.
"The match resulted in four goals each in injury time and there was pandemonium in the stands," Mr Watson told Sheriff McIntyre. "Both sets of fans were shouting at each other.
"He expects a life-ban from the Hearts ground and this incident, which happened in a moment of stupidity, has spoiled what for him was a big part of his life. He is now ashamed."
Sheriff McIntyre told Mr Coventry that the coin "might have struck someone in the eye" and added: "You will be quite aware this will be considered a serious matter by the court."
He fined him 250 and instructed the sheriff clerk to notify Hearts football club of the conviction.
Meanwhile, a Hearts fan who was slapped with an indefinite ban from Tynecastle has been given a reprieve.
Gilbert O’Rourke, of Nitshill, Glasgow, was thrown out of the ground in February after he hurled abuse at rival fans during a minute’s silence for Princess Margaret. He was condemned by club officials and the ban was backed by the club’s supporters’ association.
But Mr Rourke, who was a guest at the club’s hospitality suite two days ago, has now been allowed to return after he apologised.
Hearts had slapped an indefinite ban on Mr O’Rourke, and stripped him of his season ticket after the incident.
But it was lifted three months ago, just eight months after it was imposed, when the fan apologised to club officials.
A Hearts spokesman said: "Mr O’Rourke came to see security staff to apologise for his behaviour. The club decided to give him a second chance."
But the decision has sparked fury from some supporters and club officials at Hearts.
A senior club official said; "I don’t know why this man has been allowed back into the club. Nobody else seems to have been consulted."
Another supporter, who refused to be named, said: "We can’t believe that he’s been allowed back.
"It was decent Hearts fans who drew the police’s attention to his behaviour that day and decent fans don’t want him associated with the club. This is a real kick in the teeth."
In November, police moved in to the Tynecastle stands to arrest a 24-year-old man who allegedly hurling racist abuse at Aberdeen’s black players. He was later charged with racially aggravated breach of the peace. Black Aberdeen players Eric Deloumeaux and Leon Mike were both victims of hate-filled abuse during the encounter, which ended in a nil-nil draw.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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