Football fans criticised by sheriff as they are fined for abusing officials at local match
Two men were criticised at Lerwick Sheriff Court today for their antics during a local football match when they hurled abuse at officials.
Alistair Fullerton, 51, of Meadowfield Crescent in Scalloway, was fined £900 after getting too excited during a game between Whitedale and Scalloway in Whiteness on 11th June.
He repeatedly shouted and swore, disturbing fellow spectators – some of them children.
Meanwhile Brydon Goodlad, 38, of Stove in Walls, was told to pay £600 for also breaching the peace at the same match.
The two became angry after the Scalloway manager was asked to leave the pitch.
Both men were challenged and given a chance to “acknowledge their behaviour was completely inappropriate”.
However the calls for calm were met with more of the same and the police were called.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said there were a lot of people in the crowd, including a number of children – some as young as seven.
“Match officials are volunteers and they don’t need to be subjected to that level of abuse,” he said.
He added there was concern more of the type of behaviour displayed by Fullerton and Goodlad may mean a police presence could be required at local matches.
Mr MacKenzie added that similar antics at a premier league match would lead to a lengthy banning order.
“Had they behaved in this way, even at a third division match, they would have been arrested and kept in custody.”
Defence agent Gregor Kelly said Fullerton had taken “umbrage” with the Scalloway manager and had embarked on “what he thought was jocular behaviour”.
“He at one stage offered his spectacles to the linesman. He accepts he crossed boundaries.
“He knows his behaviour was unacceptable, and that officials were doing their job and that, without them, football would not proceed.”
Goodlad, who was representing himself, apologised to the court.
However sheriff Graeme Napier said abusive behaviour by games spectators meant he would never put himself forward as an official.
He said his father had played as an amateur footballer in the sixties, but had refused to take him to professional games because of the behaviour in the crowd.
“It’s worse, now,” he said. “It’s disgraceful.”
He told the two men: “I appreciate that in the rest of your lives you are pretty sensible, and you don’t come to the attention of the court. But it’s appropriate to make clear the disdain I have for this type of behaviour.”