Redbridge FC footballer fined for hitting steward and spitting at Sudbury Town supporters

PUBLISHED: 10:56 03 November 2016

Matthew Richardson, 23, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for his part in the stabbing on March 16 2015.

Matthew Richardson, 23, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for his part in the stabbing on March 16 2015.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A non-league footballer has been ordered to pay almost £1,300 for spitting at Sudbury Town supporters and hitting a steward after being sent off for elbowing the team’s centre-half.

Redbridge FC player William Drake, 27, had previously denied assault, threatening behaviour, and criminal damage during the match on February 27.

He was due to stand trial at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, but changed his pleas and admitted all the offences.

After leaving court Drake said: “I’m just sorry for what happened.”

The court heard the steward, Thomas Crofton, sustained a blow to the jaw when trying to grab a fire extinguisher from the player after the forward set it off following his dismissal.

Drake had been given a yellow card in the first half, followed by a red card in the second half, for elbowing Sudbury defender Ryan Henshaw.

The court heard after the incident Drake had been barracked by Sudbury players, before receiving further barracking from supporters as he left the pitch at the Wardale Williams stadium in Brundon Lane.

He then proceeded to spit at fans on two or three occasions according to witnesses.

Prosecutor Sandra Dyer said: “As Drake walked towards the crowd he pulled his head back before spitting at fans.”

A witness told Drake that he was a “dirty horrible man” and it was the most disgusting thing a footballer could do and said he should apologise.

However, Drake was said to have spat again. He was met by two stewards.

As he continued towards the dressing room he grabbed a fire extinguisher from a wall and let it off.

“Mr Crofton had seen Drake and foam was sprayed everywhere,” said Mrs Dyer.

The steward tried to take the extinguisher from Drake and felt a blow to the right side of his jaw, which left him shaken and sore.

Drake, a father-of-one from Canning Town, was fined £400 and ordered £75 compensation to Mr Crofton and a further £70 to Sudbury Town to refill the fire extinguisher.

He must also pay £500 costs and £40 to the victims’ fund and given a ban by the FA following his sending off.

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