Manchester United Fan Banned Over Racist Comment

A Manchester United fan who hurled racist abuse at a black player has been fined £200 and banned from football matches for three years.

Howard Hobson, 57, shouted: ``You f****** w**! You f****** n*****!'' and made monkey noises at Stoke City's Trinidad-born player Kenwyne Jones.

Hobson was in the North Stand at Old Trafford for the game against Stoke on January 31, Trafford Magistrates Court heard. The defendant was asked to explain his actions by JPs after pleading guilty to a single charge of a racially aggravated public order offence.

``I'm not racist,'' he told the bench.

``I have coloured people in my family and most of my best mates are coloured. I don't know what came over me. I'm deeply sorry.''

Eileen Rogers, prosecuting, told the court Hobson's behaviour was brought to the attention of club stewards at the match by a witness sitting near the defendant.

After the half-time interval when Hobson returned to his seat he was spoken to by stewards and taken away and then transferred to a police station in Salford.

Hobson, who is not a season ticket holder at Old Trafford, told officers he had come to the match straight from his job as a fork lift truck driver and drank four bottles of beer but was not drunk.

He admitted making some comments about the Stoke player ``in the heat of the moment''. He said he could not remember using the words ``w**'' or ``monkey'' but accepted what the witness had reported him as saying.