AN ALBION fan has been fined for racially abusing a Crystal Palace fan before a Premier League clash last month.

Michael O’Byrne, 52, was given a £600 fine yesterday for using racially aggravated threatening, abusive or insulting words towards a rival fan on November 28 before the match kicked off at the Amex Stadium.

The plasterer, of Farncombe Road, East Worthing, was heard by a police officer shouting “**** off you black ****” at the Palace fan, before he was arrested.

Brighton magistrates heard the comment was made after the Eagles fan said to O’Byrne: “Get out the way you gay boy.”

Dawn Walmsley, prosecuting, said: “Police noticed him walking towards the person... with an aggressive demeanour.

“He was aware there were families and children at the game and that the behaviour was unacceptable.

“The police officer says members of staff were nearby. The officer said he was drunk and was slurring his words.”

Before he was sentenced, O’Byrne, who said he has been watching football matches for 42 years, said: “All Brighton fans have had enough of homophobic attacks.

“I am sick of people saying to fans things like ‘I hope you die of Aids’.

“I am not a racist. I was approached by him and his first words to me were ‘Alright gay boy’.

“I still don’t know if he was arrested.”

O’Byrne pleaded guilty to the offence and was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and court costs of £85.

An application was made to the court for a banning order to be made but magistrates decided there was not enough risk of a similar offence being committed in future for the order to be handed down.