Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

77 minutes into a Football League Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield at Hillsborough (where fan involvement and safety has always been an issue), a fan ran out onto the field and pushed Leeds United goalkeeper Chris Kirkland in the face. He then slipped, righted himself, and disappeared into the stands. Above, the Sky Sports report, which describes the fan as being a "coward," despite all appearances of the insane courage that comes from unchecked mental instability.


And what mental instability it is! Tipster Chris sends in an article from 2011 about a young man who'd been banned from football matches in the United Kingdom since he was 16, and banned again for violating the terms of the original ban. The man in that piece was Aaron Cawley, and if message boards like this one (or the pretty solid photographic evidence) are to be believed, he's the Chris Kirkland-attacker still going unnamed in the British press.


Here's the Gloucester Echo report from last September, titled, "Football fan says: 'I'm no hooligan' after ban breach":

The 20-year-old from Blenheim Square, Cheltenham, was been [sic] banned from every football ground in the country when he was 16 after he was caught at the centre of 200-strong riot at Leeds' Elland Road ground.

He was found guilty of breaking his latest two-year ban at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

His ban forbids him from travelling on the national rail network to or from any town or city on the day Leeds play a home or away game in that city.

He was charged with breaching the order on November 6 last year when he was found travelling by train to Coventry on the day Leeds were playing in the city. He had previously breached it twice before and so the order had been extended.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Thomas said Cawley was found on November 6, carrying a train ticket from Cheltenham to Coventry, a Leeds away match ticket and a membership card in his friend John Dymock's name. Cawley maintained he was going to Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre

Cawley said: "My banning order was three months from being overturned.

"If I was going to risk it I would have done it years ago. The risk was not worth it. I am not a hooligan. I don't go to cause trouble."

It isn't clear at this point how Cawley, who isn't even allowed to travel outside Cheltenham on game days, was more than two hours away from home, standing next to the field in Hillsborough Stadium. Articles about the event coming out of the United Kingdom don't identify the perpetrator; this, from the Telegraph, notes that he wasn't the only fan to run onto the field after the equalizing goal in 77th minute, while this from the BBC quoted Sheffield manager Dave Jones saying that Leeds fans ought to be banned from away games, and that, though goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was was able to finish the game, he was also "sore," "dazed" and "maybe concussed" in the dressing room" afterwards.

Fans in the Sheffield forums noted that Cawley had an open Facebook page. He appears to have deleted his profile since, but we grabbed a fairly representative screenshot last night:

Illustration for article titled Violent Idiot On The Field In The UK Has Been Banned From All Football Matches Since He Was 16

Chris Kirkland Attacked By Leeds Fan At Sheffield Wednesday [BBC]
FA To Investigate After Leeds United Fan Assaults Sheffield Wednesday Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland At Hillsborough [Telegraph]

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