Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Flipping Royals fan has 'time of his life'

A HENLEY footballer who invaded the pitch topless and performed four somersaults during Reading?s FA Cup victory this week says he has no regrets

A HENLEY footballer who invaded the pitch topless and performed four somersaults during Reading?s FA Cup victory this week says he has no regrets.

Charlie Sumner, who was arrested and then charged by the police, says he got carried away in the excitement of the Royals? quarter-final replay victory over Bradford City at the Madejski Stadium.

The 20-year-old, who plays for Henley Town, said: ?I had the time of my life.?

Mr Sumner, of Grays Crescent, Woodley, went to the match with friends even though he had not been to a Reading game since he was a child.

His one-man pitch invasion happened about 10 minutes from the end of Monday evening?s game as the home side eased to a 3-0 victory and he was cheered by the near-capacity crowd. Mr Sumner, whose nickname is ?Pudding?, said: ?It was my first game since I was little. I was hyped up to go there and have some banter with my mates.

?Someone said, ?go on the pitch?. I didn?t think much of it, then I went for it and got caught in the moment.

?It was crazy. It was brilliant when everyone started cheering me. I didn?t want to offend anyone, so it was brilliant when the crowd got behind me.? He completed four forward flips, although he landed on his back rather than his feet, before he was caught by two stewards who escorted him from the pitch.

He was then put into a police van at the stadium before being taken to Newbury police station where he was not released until 1pm the following day.

?My back is still a bit sore,? he said. ?I guess I am a bit of an amateur gymnast.?

Mr Sumner said he had no regrets because everybody had reacted so positively.

?People seem to have loved it,? he said. ?Even Bradford fans loved it ? they?ve been sending me messages on Facebook. Someone got in touch and wants me to do a nightclub appearance.?

Video footage of the incident has been seen by millions of people. Henley Standard footage provided by Henley Firefighter Michael Saunders can be seen here:

On an unofficial Reading FC forum he was described as ?a hero? and ?a legend?.

One fan posted: ?Best thing I have ever seen at a Reading game.?

Mr Sumner said: ?Mum went to work the next day and her boss had it open on the computer. He said to her, ?he must have had a flipping good time?!?

His father Craig, who is manager of Henley Town, said: ?When I found out what had happened I did not know what to say but most people have taken it in a good manner. It was just a stunt that was meant to be enjoyed.?

Mr Sumner snr had fun poked at him before the team?s game at the Invesco Perpetual Triangle Ground on Tuesday night, which they won 6-2.

He said: ?As I entered the ground they asked me over the PA to do a flip. I just waved.?

Red Kites player Mitch Cooper copied the shirtless somersault stunt after putting his side 1-0 up against Penn and Tylers Green ? and was booked.

Mr Sumner has been charged with one count of going on to the playing area at a football match and will appear at Reading Magistrates? Court on April 1.

In the meantime, he hopes to appear aon Sky?s Saturday morning football show Soccer AM.

He has also been approached about making a music video while his gym, Core Fitness in Hurricane Way, Woodley, has started a collection to pay any fine imposed by the magistrates.

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