Arsenal fan who assaulted Man Utd's Chris Smalling gets 4-year ban as he is told: 'You tarnished the game'
An Arsenal fan who assaulted Manchester United’s Chris Smalling on the pitch was today ordered to pay him £100 — and told he had “tarnished English football on the world stage”.
Gary Cooper, pictured inset outside court, invaded the pitch after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty put the Gunners 2-0 up over their rivals at the Emirates Stadium.
TV footage showed Cooper, 30, confront Smalling during the match on March 10, above.
The fan today pleaded guilty at Highbury Corner magistrates’ court to assault by beating, after previously admitting going onto the pitch unlawfully.
Prosecutor Demi Ugurtay played the footage of Cooper running onto the pitch, showing him dashing towards Smalling with arms outstretched.
She also read from a statement made by Cooper, which said: “In my excitement I lost control and ran onto the pitch.
In my overexcited state [Smalling] was in the path.” He added: “No injury was caused to Smalling. I know my behaviour was totally unacceptable and I apologise.”
Eleanor Fraser, representing Cooper, said: “He is extremely embarrassed, he has stressed his actions are unacceptable.”
Cooper was sentenced to a four-year football banning order, a community order of 12 months and 120 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £150 and a victim surcharge of £85, as well as the £100 compensation to Smalling.
Magistrate Gill Allison told Cooper: “This was a foolish attempt to celebrate. You were in drink. Your conduct tarnishes English football on the worldwide stage.”
The court heard he had drunk “seven to eight beers” before the game. He told the probation officer “it was a bit of a blur but I did not intend to harm anyone”.