Four men were brought to Preston Crown Court to answer for their crimes
Stools, tables and glasses were thrown around a Blackpool pub as chaotic scenes broke out between rival football fans.
Four men were hauled before Preston Crown Court on Wednesday (June 22) for their roles in the public disorder which broke out before a fixture between the two North West sides on February 2, 2020. Others involved in the brawl are still to learn their fates.
The court heard that Bolton supporter Ashley Stott had travelled to Blackpool and was sat with fellow Bolton fans at a table inside the pub when Blackpool supporters including Darren Jennings, Graham Clarke and Dale Gregory entered the building. Rivals fans had been sat at opposite sides of the pub but at some point, something was said to Stott which angered him and sparked the chaos.
It was the Blackpool fans who initiated the disorder, Recorder Jodie Woodhead said, as she described CCTV footage in which Gregory “can be seen to pick up a bar stool, approach the Bolton supporters and throw it at them”. She continued: “Graham Clarke then picks up a stool and throws it at the Bolton fans. Their response is throwing stools and tables and what appears to be glasses. There then appears to be hand to hand fighting where one can see punches and kicks are thrown.
“Ashley Stott can be seen throwing an empty glass at Blackpool fans. Dale Gregory charges towards the Bolton group and is involved in a scuffle with Ashley Scott, both carrying stool at this time. Graham Clarke then walks in, following him is Jennings, he can be seen to throw two punches towards the group.”
Other members of the public were present at the bar, including elderly and visibly distressed patrons. Landlord Kevin Anthony reported that one regular with learning disabilities had to be moved from the scene to prevent him being physically hurt.
Stott was also being sentenced for a separate incident in December 2019 before a fixture between Bolton and Shrewsbury Town which involved “significant numbers of supporters of both teams involved in significant unrest in the town centre”. However, Recorder Woodhead noted that his involvement and violence in that incident was much lesser than other people there.
Sentencing, she said: “There is no evidence that the defendants had gone there for that purpose and on the evidence before the court it seems likely that something was said wholly unrelated to football that was the trigger for the incident.” Recorder Woodhead decided against issuing football banning orders against Jennings, Clarke and Gregory, noting that they have all continued to attend matches since then without further trouble. However, she did hand such an order to Stott for his repeated involvement in disorder around football games.
Jennings, 51, and of Dawlish Court, Blackpool, earlier admitted a public order offence and was given a 14 week sentence suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 10 rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR) days.
Gregory, 49, and of Rosemary Place, Preston, pleaded guilty to affray and received an eight month sentence suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work and 15 RAR days.
Clarke, 34, and of Everest Close, Lytham St Annes, pleaded guilty to affray and handed an eight month sentence suspended for 18 months. He was also given an electronic tag to enforce an eight week curfew which requires him to stay home between 8pm and 5.30am.
Stott, 33, and of Coniston Avenue, Manchester, admitted two public order offences and was given a total sentence of 56 weeks suspended for 18 months. He must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work and 38 RAR days.
- 16:27, 23 JUN 2022