A DRUNKEN yob who elbowed a steward in the face at a football stadium has been banned from attending matches.

Thomas Carter was involved in threatening scenes at the Amex Stadium during Brighton and Hove Albion’s game against Aston Villa last month.

In the first half, tempers flared between supporters in the South Stand, where groups were seen confronting each other.

Among those shouting “come on then” was Carter.

The 27-year-old was warned by a steward to calm down and move away from the divide

Carter said: “F*** off, why are you picking on me?”

The incident unfolded in front of families and children at the game, Brighton Magistrates’ Court was told.

Carter, of Coleridge Close, Goring, was given a football banning order for three years, and was told to complete 40 hours of unpaid community service.

Martina Sherlock, prosecuting, said Carter refused to calm down down and was asked to leave, shouting: “What are you doing about them b*******.”

He resisted attempts to remove him from the stadium and at one stage one of his flailing arms clattered into the female steward's face.

She was left dazed with blurred vision.

Ms Sherlock said: “At 3.40pm the steward noticed Aston Villa fans chanting to the Brighton fans, and two groups closing in on the segregation line.


“Immediately her attention was drawn to Thomas Carter, who came over to them in an aggressive manner.

“She asked him to go back to his seat. He replied ‘f*** off, why are you picking on me not the Aston Villa fans?’

“She said she was not responsible for the other side. Families sitting nearby asked to be moved because of the language they were hearing.”

Ms Sherlock said Carter was ejected and then arrested outside the stadium.

He admitted he had too much to drink and had lost his temper.

Carter admitted his behaviour was reckless and had caused the injury to the steward, who suffered reddening and bruising while performing her public duty.

Kelly Thomas, defending, said Carter admitted assault at the first opportunity and showed remorse.

She said he has worked as a gas heating engineer for the past eight years and is a father-of-three.

He has only been attending Albion games in the past few years, and hoped to start taking his four-year-old son to matches.

She argued that a football banning order might therefore be “oppressive” as a punishment. He has written an email to apologise for his behaviour to Brighton and Hove Albion.

But magistrate Mark Durrell said: “This was a serious incident.

“We are going to issue a banning order. We believe you have caused or contributed to violence and disorder, and we are satisfied there are reasonable grounds that a ban would prevent violence and disorder.”

Carter must pay £100 compensation to the steward, a £90 surcharge and £85 costs.