A HENLEY footballer who ran on to the pitch topless during a Reading match has been
A HENLEY footballer who ran on to the pitch topless during a Reading match has been banned from attending matches for three years.
Charlie Sumner, 20, staged his one-man invasion at the Madejski Stadium during the second half of Royals’ quarter-final replay against Bradford City on March 16, which they won 3-0.
The Reading fan, nicknamed Pudding, did four front flips on the pitch before he was tackled by stewards.
The match, which was screened live on BBC 1, was stopped while the stewards pursued him and then handed him over to police.
Sumner, a self-employed dry liner, of Grays Crescent, Woodley, was also fined £265 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £27 victim surcharge when he was sentenced at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Thursday last week.
At a hearing last month, he admitted going on to the playing area at a football match.
Sumner is on the books of Henley Town FC, where his father Craig is manager.
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Sumner said his son’s solicitor had advised appealing against the sentence.
“She feels he has been made an example of,” he said. “The fine and ban were really harsh.”
Louise Attrill, prosecuting, told the court that Sumner climbed over the chained barriers separating the crowd from the pitch.
She said: “He ran around the pitch, which stopped the game. He attempted to somersault three or four times, then ran up to the Bradford fans, shaking his fist at them. Mr Sumner stated in interview it was an isolated incident and he was very sorry. However, he went on to provide numerous press articles. He was interviewed and was asked whether he would do it again and responded, ‘yeah, maybe’.
“This does not suggest he was remorseful. It is quite clear this defendant enjoyed the attention he received.
“This was highlighted by the picture outside the court smiling with his thumbs up. It could be argued this is showing disrespect for the justice system. It almost makes a mockery of the system. An example should be set that this type of behaviour is not acceptable. This behaviour should be cracked down on.”
Sally Thomson, for Sumner, offered to show a video of the incident to the magistrates, which they declined. She said his action had been lighthearted, with circus music being played while he gallivanted on the pitch.
Mrs Thomson said: “His friends egged him on to go on to the pitch and he got a good reception.
“It has been suggested he is enjoying the attention but this has led to him losing his good character as a self-employed person. He is a hard-working and reliable person.” Sentencing Sumner, lead magistrate Paul Dick told him he should have known better.
He said: “We hear, in particular, that you are a footballer, so you understand football and you understand the expectation and you understand what public order and public disorder can be all about. We have no sympathy for you at all. We have taken into account your previous good character and timely guilty plea. It is your fault we are all here.”
After the hearing, Sumner said: “I am remorseful but I can’t change what has happened. They talked about me smiling in pictures but I am just a happy person.
“I am very respectful of the justice system and I have no previous convictions.”