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Gillingham fan from Canterbury banned from all games for three years after threatening Swindon Town fans

By Jenni Horn

A football fan has been banned from attending any games for three years after rival supporters clashed following a Gillingham match.

Michael Andrew O'Shea appeared in court after threatening away fans following the Gillingham v Swindon match on January 18.

O'Shea was shouting abusive and threatening language and gesturing at the fans in Gillingham High Street.

Michael Andrew O'Shea has been given a three-year football ban
Michael Andrew O'Shea has been given a three-year football ban

Officers warned him about his language and behaviour and advised him to act appropriately, but he continued to try to incite violence.

The 51-year-old, of River View, was arrested and later charged with using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of or provoke unlawful violence.

O'Shea appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court where he pleaded guilty to the charge and was issued a three-year football banning order, preventing him from attending any regulated football matches.

Magistrates also fined him £350 and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £35 victim surcharge.

Priestfield Stadium
Priestfield Stadium

PC Geoff Greensmith, Kent Police football liaison officer, said: "This outcome sends a strong message to anyone found committing football-related offences at or near a stadium - you will be arrested and put before the courts.

"O'Shea is now banned from travelling to and attending football matches at home and abroad for three years.

"The majority of football fans watching the game behave appropriately, but unfortunately there are sometimes a few who spoil the atmosphere.

"Kent Police takes football-related offences seriously and will not tolerate violence. Officers will continue to focus patrols in areas attracting a lot of football supporters to ensure they continue to enjoy the sport and stay safe."

Extra police officers and a dog section were brought in to break up a confrontation at the entrance to Gillingham railway station at the time O'Shea was arrested.

Gillingham railway station
Gillingham railway station

Gillingham and Swindon have been long-standing rivals since 1979 when the two sides met at Priestfield.

The Gills let slip a 2-0 lead, eventually drawing 2-2, and had goalscorer Danny Westwood sent off. Town defender Ray McHale wound the Gills fans up and one entered the pitch and punched the referee.

The return match at the County Ground was bad tempered and McHale was centre of attention again. Gills lost 3-1 and Swindon coach Wilf Tranter went to hospital with facial injuries after a post-match brawl.

Two Gillingham players ended up in court, but both were eventually acquitted. Neither team got promoted.

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