Fan who confronted Rio Ferdinand banned from football matches for three years
The fan who confronted Rio Ferdinand at the end of the Manchester derby has been banned from matches for three years.
Last Updated: 04/01/13 4:50pm
Manchester City fan Matthew Stott, 21, was told he came close to going to prison, but instead his 56-day jail term was suspended for 12 months.
Stott had to be restrained by City keeper Joe Hart from confronting Ferdinand, who was bleeding from a cut caused by a coin thrown from the stands.
Ferdinand had been celebrating Robin van Persie's late winner for United at City's Etihad Stadium when tempers boiled over.
TV footage of the incident was played at Manchester Magistrates Court showing Stott, who had drunk eight pints of lager before kick-off, trying to confront Ferdinand.
Stott, a landscape gardener of Southfields, Knutsford, pleaded guilty to encroaching on the field of play and using insulting words or behaviour.
As well as the football ban and suspended jail sentence, he was ordered to do 120 hours community service, must pay £145 in costs and observe an 8pm to 6am home curfew for three months.
District Judge Richardson said: "He chose to attack somebody on a football pitch. But for the timely and appropriate intervention of the City goalkeeper the situation would have been a lot worse and could have triggered a serious incident of disorder."
Rebecca Caulfield, defending Stott, said her client could now not remember what he had done.
She added: "He's lost his job, he's received death threats and his family has suffered intimidation by members of the public, in person, by telephone, camping outside his father's flat, and threats on Facebook."
Stott issued an apology through his solicitor the day after the match saying he was "extremely ashamed" of his actions.