Leeds United v Manchester United: Jail for ‘ringleader’ in football violence

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A HOOLIGAN described as a “ringleader” in a major disturbance between police and Leeds United fans after a cup match against Manchester United at Elland Road has been jailed.

Dane Martin, 21, was arrested after his picture appeared on the front page of the Yorkshire Evening Post as part of a police appeal to catch thugs involved in the trouble following the Carling Cup clash between the arch rival clubs on September 20 last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard there were scenes of “total chaos” before the game. Away fans were pelted with bricks, coins and bottles and a policeman suffered a broken leg after being trampled by a horse as officers formed a cordon to separate the two sets of supporters.

During the game more trouble flared when Manchester United fans taunted Leeds supporters by wearing Turkish football shirts out of disrespect for the two Leeds United supporters, Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight who were murdered in Istanbul in 2000.

Manchester fans were held back for an hour after the game but around 200 Leeds fans waited outside. Martin was one of the “ringleaders” caught on camera goading and taunting police as they struggled to keep the two groups apart.

Bricks and other missiles were also thrown from a footbridge. A police dog and its handler suffered injuries. The officer said it was the worst incident he had been involved in in 19 years.

At one point Martin was pictured brandishing a long piece of wood.

He was arrested in January this year after information was given to the police when he was pictured in a YEP appeal.

A copy of the newspaper along with the distinctive purple polo shirt he had been wearing on the night was found at his home.

Martin, of Garden Village, Micklefield, pleaded guilty to affray. He was out of prison on licence for burglary and assault at the time of the incident and was recalled to jail.

Michael Greenhalgh, for Martin, said his client had decided to become involved after seeing Manchester United fans change into Turkish shirts. He added: “When he came out of the ground he did not intend to cause injury to anybody. But it is the sort of public disorder that people are frightened of.”

Judge Scott Wolstenholme jailed Martin for 12 months and made him the subject of a football banning order. He is not allowed near Elland Road during home games and cannot go near Leeds railway station or rival grounds during away games.


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