A SOUTH Tyneside football yob has been spared jail over an organised street clash with rival fans.
A gang of Sunderland fans posed for pictures at a pub before the violence with visiting West Ham supporters and boasted via social networking sites and text about what they had done afterwards.
Newcastle Crown Court heard members of the public looked on in fear and were worried for the safety of their children when the afternoon trouble broke out in the city street outside Revolution bar in Sunderland before the match at the Stadium of Light on January 12.
One witness told police they felt “sick to the stomach” by what they saw that day.
CCTV footage of the mass brawl shows punches and kicks being thrown while bottles were being broken, leaving the pavements covered in broken glass.
Connor McCoy was one of seven men sentenced yesterday, all having pleaded guilty to violent disorder at a previous hearing.
The 21-year-old, of Perth Avenue, Jarrow, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 250 hours’ unpaid work and 12 months’ supervision.
He was also banned from attending games for the next three years.
Judge Jeremy Freedman told the men: “This occurred on match day.
“Football is a source of pleasure to literally millions of people.
“What football hooliganism of the type you engaged in does is besmerch the good name of football and deter people from going to matches, particularly parents who want to take young children, lest they get caught up in scenes of violence.
“This was not a spontaneous outburst of violence.
“It took place in broad daylight in Sunderland town centre, in clear view of members of the public.
“Members of the public can reasonably expect to enjoy the amenities of the town centre without being exposed to this kind of frightening activity.”
Robert Adams, prosecuting, told the court the violence itself lasted only around three minutes, by which time the police arrived at the scene.
No one reported any serious injury despite the violence used.
Mr Adams told the court: “It is the crown’s case that all of the defendants were involved, to some extent in any event, with an organisation self-named the Sunderland Youth Firm, who hang around regularly at The Fort, a pub in Sunderland decorated in Sunderland colours.”
The court heard how the Sunderland gang left the Fort bar and walked to Revolution, where the violent confrontation took place outside.
Mobile phones were seized when the gang was arrested.
Mr Adams said they showed a series of text message exchanges and boasts on social networking sites both before and after the trouble.
One message said: “Anyone who comes to our city doesn’t leave without a good clip.”
Another message, relating to a future game, said: “What are they going to do? Get punched from one end of Sunderland to the other.”
As well as the written messages, the court heard the phones contained pictures and videos of the violence that day.
The court heard the men are not heavily convicted and come from respectable backgrounds.
Defence barrister Christopher Knox said: “The reality is, as soon as the police arrived, everybody ran away.
“These are essentially law abiding people.”
The judge said it would not be in the “public interest” to jeopardise the men’s jobs and future careers by sending them straight to jail.
Also sentenced were:
Thomas Kelly, 19, of Eighth Avenue, Chester le Street, County Durham, who received eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and 250 hours’ unpaid work.
Bradley Dixon, 19, of Patton Road, Plains Farm, Sunderland, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonement, suspended for two years, with £1,000 costs.
Lewis Dodsworth, 19, of Bowburn Avenue, Wear View, Sunderland, received eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 250’ hours unpaid work.
Former EDL member Anthony Smith, 26, of Purvis Terrace, Trimdon, County Durham, who claimed to love hooliganism on his Twitter page, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and 250 hours’ unpaid work.
Paratrooper Jamie Phenny, 21, of The Spinney, Bridgend, Glamorgan, received six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with £1,000 costs.
Christopher Webb, 24, of East Herrington, Sunderland, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and alcohol treatment programme.
All pleaded guilty to a charge of violent disorder at an earlier hearing.
All were given football banning orders for three years.