A man who assaulted a female steward at last months’s home game against Villa has been banned from the Amex for three years.
Thomas Carter, 27, lashed out and accidentally hit Rosmary Watts as she and others were trying to escort him from the south stand on 18 January.
Today at Brighton Magistrates Court Carter, of Goring, pleaded guilty to assault.
Prosecuting, Martina Sherlock said: “There was an incident between Brighton and Aston Villa fans.
“Miss Watts was standing at the top of the south stand and noticed Aston Villa fans chanting to Brighton fans and both groups were closing in on the segregation line so she went down.
“Her attention was brought to a male – Thomas Carter – who was shouting in an aggressive manner.
“She was about 2ft away and asked him to get away from the seg line. He replied ‘Fuck off why are you picking on me and not Aston Villa fans?'”
A family sat nearby asked to be moved because of the language, and while she was dealing with that she heard over the radio that Carter was to be escorted from the ground.
Other staff came to assist, and Carter was asked to come with them.
But as one steward put his arm on Carter’s to escort him, he lashed out and his elbow hit Miss Watts on the right cheek, leaving her bruised and feeling “blurry”.
Defending, Kelly Thomas said Carter, a gas engineer, had been drinking that day and had not intended to assault Miss Watts, although he accepted he had been reckless.
She said: “This was out of character, it’s low level injuries, he has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
“Of most significance, he is remorseful and perhaps as an indication of how seriously he’s taking this, he’s sent an email to Brighton and Hove Albion apologising.”
She said that although Carter was not a big Albion fan, he had hoped to take his young son to matches and asked the bench not to impose the banning order.
However, chair of magistrates Mr Durrell said: “We can see you are genuinely remorseful, but this was a serious incident at a football ground against a woman who was just doing her job.”
As well as the banning order, which prevents him from going to both Albion and England games, he was given a 12 month community order with 40 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay £85 costs, £90 victim surcharge and £100 compensation to Miss Watts.