A hooligan has been banned for life from Elland Road after he was jailed for attacking a goalkeeper during an ugly derby clash.
Leeds United fan Aaron Cawley, 21, yesterday (Oct 22) admitted invading the Hillsborough pitch and assaulting Sheffield Wednesday stopper Chris Kirkland as The Whites played the Owls in Friday’s televised match.
But the unemployed labourer said he was too drunk to remember the incident after a vodka and cider binge before the game.
He was caged for 16 weeks but club bosses quickly slapped him with a life ban from Leeds’s home games, saying his sentence “should have been considerably longer.”
Prosecutor Paul Macaulay said Cawley, who lives in Cheltenham, told police he had drunk a number of cans of lager on Friday morning, followed by three-quarters of a litre of vodka and seven to 10 pints of cider prior to the match.
Sheffield Magistrate’s Court heard that around the 77th minute of the game, seconds after a Leeds equaliser, Cawley came on to the pitch then slapped Kirkland on both sides of the face.
Kirkland told police it was like he had been “hit by a ton of bricks and went straight on the floor” but the ex-England player was not seriously injured.
Cawley was quickly identified and arrested on Sunday.
He told police he had been too drunk to remember the incident, only realising what he had done when other people told him and then he saw himself on TV.
Mr Macaulay said. “He saw exactly what he had done on TV although he did not recall what he’d done. He accepted it was clearly him on TV. He made email contact with South Yorkshire Police and Sky TV.”
Cawley was jailed for 16 weeks and ordered to pay £85 costs.
District Judge Naomi Redhouse said he will be given a new banning order, probably for five years.
A statement from Leeds United issued straight after the hearing said: “The club will also ban the individual for life from Elland Road when this banning order expires.
“While we are pleased to see justice brought so quickly, our one disappointment is that we feel the sentence could, and should, have been considerably longer.”
Police say they are now hunting the other fans involved in alleged disorder at Friday’s game.