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Fan sentenced for pitch assault on Arsenal Aaron Ramsdale

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A man has been banned from football matches for four years after he attacked Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale at the north London derby.

Ramsdale, 24, was kicked in the back after the Gunners beat Spurs 2-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in January.

Joseph Watts, 35, from Dalston, east London, appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded guilty to assault by beating.

He was also given a community order and told to pay Ramsdale £100 compensation.

Ramsdale had been instrumental in securing Arsenal’s 2-0 win between the two close rivals on 15 January.

The court heard he had been celebrating the victory and collecting his belongings from behind the goal when he was attacked.

Tottenham supporter Watts ran down the stairs from where he was sitting, climbed over a barrier and on to an advertising banner, before kicking Ramsdale and running back into the stands.

He also admitted throwing four coins on to the pitch during the match.

In a victim statement read to the court, Ramsdale said he had to see a masseuse because his back felt “heavy”, but there were no marks to his skin.

“I’ve never had someone enter the pitch and kick me, I don’t think it’s acceptable that I should be assaulted at work,” he said.

The England international added he had become more wary about similar incidents happening in the future.

Watts admitted he was drunk at the time having had six points, while the court heard he was considered to be of good character.

The probation service told the court he “had acted on impulse and got carried away with the passion of the day”.

In addition to the assault charge, Watts pleaded guilty to throwing a missile on to a football playing area and going on to an area adjacent to a playing area.

Sentencing him, Deputy District Judge A King, said that while the attack was “relatively short-lived… when individuals lose self-control it can have a ripple effect, in this case there could have been a significant risk of serious public order”.

As part of his 12-month community order, Watts must undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and is barred from watching a football match in person for four years.

He is also banned from being in the vicinity of football matches where Tottenham Hotspur play, including Wembley Stadium, for four hours before and after games, and has to surrender his passport during international tournaments and if required by police.

Shortly after the attack, Tottenham said the fan would face “an immediate ban”.

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and the Football Association (FA) also condemned what happened.


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