Football manager shouted anti-gay abuse at ref in Sutton

Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Mansfield Magistrates Court.
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A Sunday football team manager shouted homophobic abuse at a referee after an “ill-tempered match” in Sutton, a court heard.

Aaron Pride made the remarks after the match at Sutton Lawns, on September 18, when the referee’s decisions caused “bad feeling”, said Kate Beardsmore, prosecuting.

“He asked for his match fee and there was an exchange,” she said. “The defendant made a clearly homophobic remark to the referee who is openly gay.”

“Tempers were running very high and words were exchanged with the referee,” said Matthew Taylor, mitigating.

“Mr Pride accepts using the word. He didn’t know the referee was gay, but accepts that it shouldn’t make a difference. He is very remorseful.”

He said Pride had played for Chesterfield FC as a child, as well as Belper Town FC. He played for the Sunday team until he was injured 18 months ago, when he became their manager.

The dad-of-two was also the carer for both his parents, he said.

Pride, 25, of Meden Crescent, Sutton, admitted using threatening and homophobic words when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court on Thursday.

District Judge Andrew Mechin said: “Sadly you do the game of soccer no favours. It’s got a bad enough reputation as it is.

“No matter how badly you thought he refereed, you don’t use that sort of language.”

He fined Pride £246, with £85 costs and ordered him to pay £50 compensation.