Scous’ Man City fan, 29, who risked injuring players and supporters by spraying blue smoke on the pitch during May’s Premier League decider

A Manchester City fan has been fined and ordered a football ban after being caught fanning a blue smoke on the pitch during last season’s frantic title decider at the Etihad Stadium. Philip Maxwell, 29, threw a pyrotechnic over his head at the fans after a late equalization by Rodri.

The 78th-minute goal was part of a dramatic comeback for City, who scored two goals at home to Aston Villa, and looked like they could lose the title to Liverpool. Kevin De Bruyne’s winner handed the trophy to the Blues three minutes later, leading to a confusing scene and pitch attack after the final whistle.

A court heard Liverpool’s lifelong City fan Maxwell, last season, throw one of 20 fumes thrown by supporters during games amid an increase in disorder at football matches. He is the second City fan to receive a football ban order after trouble in the game.

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Prosecutor Shahid Khan told Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday) that Maxwell erupted after a “local team” equalized during an “important championship decider”. He said the pyrotechnic, which was emitting blue smoke, ‘came over the heads of supporters and managers’, adding that throwing the missile could ‘injure supporters and employees’.

Greater Manchester Police football hooligan ‘Spotter’, PC Matthew Ford, captured the incident on a hand-held camera, the court heard. Footage played in the courtroom shows a close-up of Maxwell, wearing a white baseball cap, flaring toward a section of Aston Villa supporters.

According to the prosecutor, the incident was a “deliberate open act” and posed a “clear risk of injury”.

A statement by PC Ford, which was read out in court, said the re-introduction of fans to football matches following restrictions prompted by the COVID pandemic has seen a ‘dramatic increase in violence and disorder’ at sports in the UK and across Europe. ,



Supporters run to the pitch as the final whistle blows at the Etihad Stadium

He also cited social media posts that appear to glorify football violence and a “growing trend” of fans smuggling pyrotechnics into stadiums. The official said there was an 18.6 percent increase in the number of grounds fires during league games in England last season.

According to PC Ford, during the title-deciding Villa game at the Etihad, around 20 smoking flames were thrown over the playing field or at supporters who risked ‘enmity’ between rival fans.

Manchester City had attempted to address the problem by employing staff to deal with fans coming to the ground, which can be ‘quite easily purchased online’, he added.

The official said fans who bought them frequently did not appreciate the danger of flares they bought and referred a supporter, aged 15, who was diagnosed with ‘lung damage’ after inhaling smoke from a flare. had to be treated.



Maxwell was ordered a three-year football ban

Chloe Gaffney defended that her client had ‘no intention’ of lashing out at Villa supporters, saying what she did was an ‘act of immaturity’. “He finds himself losing his good character before the court today,” she said.

Chairperson of the bench Sohail Ahmed told the respondent: “You have lost your good character. You have paid a great price for this stupid mistake.”

Maxwell was fined £1,440 and ordered to pay £55 for prosecution costs and a £144 victim surcharge. He was also given a three-year football ban order, which bars him from participating in games at the Etihad or any other league games until June 23, 2025.

Nozzie, Angio Roo’s defendant in Liverpool, who had previously pleaded no fault, pleaded guilty on 22 May to throwing fire into the playing area or towards the playing field during a designated football match. He also admitted a second charge of possessing a firework. Playing field. The court heard that he had served in the army and earned £30,000 a year at his current job. He agreed to pay a fine of £100 a month.



Fans celebrate on the pitch after Manchester City’s Premier League win

Earlier this month, another City fan, Paul Colebridge, 37, of Salford, was given a four-year football ban order for attacking the pitch during a game when the winning goal was scored. He ‘taunted’ the opposition players and fans before slipping and falling and being caught by the stewards.

The massive intrusion on the Etihad pitch was the culmination of a series of pitch attacks in matches that week, including one in which Sheffield United’s Billy Sharpe was headbutted by a Nottingham Forest fan at the end of the second leg of the semi-finals of the Sky Bet Championship play-offs. went. leg.

After Maxwell was sentenced, North West District Crown Prosecutor Kerry Grieve said: “Maxwell’s actions were thoughtless and selfish. Flares pose a threat to the safety of players and spectators. On occasion, thankfully, someone has Didn’t hurt but we have seen many times.The consequences of flare-ups in football matches and we must root out those who endanger the safety of others.



Paul Colebridge is leaving Manchester Magistrates’ Court

“CPS is committed to taking a strong stance on tackling football-related disorder as we continue to play a vital role in making sports like football inclusive and safe to watch.”

Crown lawyers are working with football clubs, the Premier League and other football bodies to explain what evidence is needed to make charges against supporters and to protect players from future incidents.

Douglas McKay, sports prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “There has been a significant increase in football-related criminality compared to pre-pandemic levels in recent years and months. At CPS, we play a key role in combating crime and Making our national sport inclusive, safe to watch and play. Violent criminal acts have no place in football, and such incidents have a significant impact on victims.”

Flares may appear harmless but they contain toxic chemicals and can burn at 1,600 °C, the melting point of steel. They are especially dangerous for anyone with asthma. They have been linked to two deaths of young boys at football matches, one in Brazil and the other in Spain.

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