Newcastle fan admits racially abusing Jermaine Pennant
A Newcastle fan has admitted racially abusing former Liverpool midfielder Jermaine Pennant.
Keil Parker admitted he hurled abuse at Pennant during Newcastle United’s home game with Portsmouth last season.
The 19-year-old even admitted his comments were designed to make winger Jermaine Pennant feel “worthless”.
Police tried to have Parker banned from future matches as part of their strategy to kick racism out of football.
But magistrates’ rejected their application, saying his behaviour was not serious enough to warrant a football banning order.
The decision has angered anti-racism campaigners, who have now called on Newcastle United to prevent him going to any future games.
Ged Grebby, of Tyneside-based charity Show Racism the Red Card, said: “This was obviously such a serious incident that it upset other fans sitting in the area.
“To me, it seems like a fairly clear-cut case for a football banning order being justified.
“As an organisation, we are disappointed that someone who has behaved in this way can still go to games, however, I would call on the club to make sure he is banned from St James’s Park and can’t follow Newcastle United away.”
Parker, of High Grove, Ryton, Gateshead, had previously admitted causing racially-aggravated harassment, alarm or distress and a separate hearing was scheduled to consider whether he should be barred from grounds across England and Wales.
Kerry Hastings, prosecuting, gave details of original incident, which saw Parker call Pennant, on loan at Portsmouth at the time, a “black ****.”
She said: “A steward then saw the defendant making a two-fingered gesture to one of the players and shouting racist chants.”
Despite being spotted by stewards and ruining the match for dozens of nearby fans, Parker continued his foul-mouthed tirade.
Ms Hastings said: “More abusive language was heard. At one stage, a young girl shouted ‘Please, I’m sick of these abusive comments’.”
Parker was arrested and admitted to police he had gestured at Pennant and hurled racist abuse at him.
When asked by an officer how he thought it would have made the midfielder, now playing for Real Zaragoza in Spain, feel, he said: “I am sure he would have felt worthless.”
John Foley, defending, said: “He is a well brought-up, generally well-behaved young man. He has been in no trouble before this or after this incident.”
Representing Northumbria Police’s football intelligence unit, PC Steve Graham was in court to request a banning order against Parker.
It was argued the actions of one fan can often lead to more widespread disorder and that barring Parker from games would help prevent that happening in the future.
But instead he was hit with a £100 fine and a £15 victim surcharge for the offence he pleaded guilty to.
Reacting to the verdict, Supt Steve Neill said: “Racist behaviour has no place in modern society and the behaviour of Keil Parker is totally reprehensible.
“I feel it is important to thank the genuine football fans who reported Parker’s behaviour to the police, and in doing so underlined that racist behaviour is not acceptable to the vast majority of people who attend matches.”