August 14, 2022

The incident occurred during City’s 0-0 draw against Sporting

A Manchester City supporter has been handed a three-year football banning order and lost his job as a chef after throwing a pie into the crowd during a Champions League match.

Aaron Johnson, 30, claimed he had been struck by the pie during City’s 0-0 draw against Sporting at the Etihad Stadium in March. As reported by the Manchester Evening News, 47 people were ejected from the Etihad Stadium and a further 100 people were denied entry altogether.

Despite an underwhelming performance at home, City progressed to the next round of the competition after winning the first leg 5-0 in Portugal.

Johnson threw pie and drink at Sporting fans

After the match, police saw an individual – later identified as Johnson – throwing several items toward the travelling Sporting supporters, including a drink and a pie, Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard.

While it remains unclear if anyone was injured by the flying item(s), Johnson has since lost his job as a chef due to the incident.

The 30-year-old pleaded guilty to throwing a missile at a spectators area. He was given a £40 fine and banned from going to any football matches in the UK and abroad for three years.

Eileen Rogers, prosecuting, told the court that there had been a ‘dramatic increase’ in violent disorder and anti-social behaviour during matches after fans were allowed back in stadiums after the covid-19 pandemic at the end of last year.

Ms Rodgers explained that 51,000 supporters – 13,000 of whom were Sporting fans – were in attendance at the game at the Etihad, which kicked-off at 8pm.

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“Items were thrown by both sides, City and the opposing side, in the lower section of the stadium, and were observed to be abusive towards each other and the police had told them to stop,” she said.

“Several items, including coins, were thrown towards the lower divide, officers had to stand between them and were advised to wear helmets to protect themselves. The North West Ambulance Service treated two City supporters who had been hit by missiles. Tensions were high and the police were vigilant.”

After the full-time whistle, police officers began to escort Sporting fans from the stadium and away from City fans in blocks 109 and 110. It was at this point that Johnson was seen throwing the pie, as well as a cup containing liquid.

Johnson was placed in handcuffs and arrested

Johnson was subsequently cautioned by police who explained they had seen him throw the pie and drink, to which he replied: “I have thrown a pie and a drink”. He was placed in handcuffs and arrested.

He told officers in a police interview that ‘he knew what he did was stupid’, with his defence lawyer, Nnamdi Inegbu, explaining how he first attended a City game at just two weeks old, possessing a season ticket from the age of five until 2014.

The defence told the court: “This was a one off, it was a moment of madness. He will say the pie he threw was an object that had landed on him. It landed on his face and clothes and he hauled it back.

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“He deeply regrets his actions and recognises he let himself down, let his friend down and let Manchester City down. He can’t believe he put himself in this position and is disgusted with his actions.

“He understands why the police have a zero tolerance approach to this behaviour and he wishes, through me, to apologise to Manchester City, the players, the supporters, his friends and family.”

The 30-year-old, from Stockport, was fined £40, ordered to pay a £34 victim surcharge and £85 court costs. He was also given a football banning order for three years, which means he cannot enter any premises for the purpose of watching a football match and must surrender his passport for any matches outside of the UK.

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