South Shields FC 'hugely proud' of Myles Boney after rival fan convicted of racially abusing goalkeeper
A football fan who shouted racist abuse at South Shields goalkeeper Myles Boney and told him “white lives matter” has avoided prison after being given a “last chance” by a judge.
Dean Simpson, 24, was given a 12-week jail sentence suspended for two years at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on Thursday after being found guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence at an earlier trial.
District judge Nicholas Sanders told him: “You are making a hash of your life, Mr Simpson.
“It’s going to get a lot worse, a lot, lot worse, if you don’t start taking responsibility for your actions and starting to behave properly.
“This is your last chance.”
South Shields FC said the club was “hugely proud of Myles for the courage he showed throughout what was a very difficult process to help to secure a conviction,” and urged everyone to help eradicate racism from football.
Jonathan Wilkinson, prosecuting, said Simpson was at match between Warrington Town and South Shields on September 22 last year when he began to shout abuse at Mr Boney, who was described as being of mixed white and black Caribbean ethnicity.
The player heard Simpson, of Nantwich in Cheshire, shouting either “donkey” or “monkey” at him and “white lives matter”, the court was told.
Mr Wilkinson said during the trial that Simpson described using the phrase “white lives matter” as “giving Mr Boney stick”.
He continued to shout abuse during a penalty shoot-out and then ran on to the pitch and kicked the football out of the ground before kicking a plastic cup towards some of the South Shields players, the court heard.
Other fans witnessed Simpson, who said he drank between four and six pints on the day, making racist comments and monkey gestures as he left the ground, Mr Wilkinson said.
In a statement read to the court, Mr Boney said he experienced anxiety after the incident and he was left feeling “sad” and “disappointed”.
He said: “I have not experienced any form of racial abuse previously and I was totally shaken by this situation.”
The court heard Simpson had been made the subject of a three-year football banning order in 2018 after throwing a missile but it did not include lower level matches, such as the Northern Premier League which Warrington plays in.
Mr Wilkinson added: “There’s been zero remorse for any abuse.”
Peter Green, defending Simpson, said he was “petrified” of being sent to prison.
He said: “It’s important that this defendant has the opportunity to work with the Probation Service to perhaps change his attitude and more importantly, I think, to grow up.”
Sentencing Simpson, the judge said: “I struggle to understand what goes through the mind of someone who thinks it is big, clever or acceptable to behave in this sort of way towards anyone as a result of their skin colour.”
He told Simpson the offence impacted on the victim and on other supporters at football grounds who had to listen to “idiots like you”.
Simpson was also sentenced to a rehabilitation requirement for 30 days and given a 12-month curfew preventing him from going out on Fridays from 7pm until 6am and between midday and 4am on Saturdays and Sundays.
He was ordered to pay £720 costs, £500 compensation to Mr Boney and a £128 victim surcharge.
After the case, South Shields FC said: "We are hugely proud of Myles for the courage he showed throughout what was a very difficult process to help to secure a conviction.
"Racism has no place in society, let alone football, and we all have a part to play in the fight against it.
"We hope that Myles' determined and brave actions will encourage others to speak out and expose those individuals who continue to blight our game with their bigotry and discrimination."