West Ham fans pay pitch invader’s fine for taking Tottenham’s free kick
PUBLISHED: 11:50 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:57 04 September 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
West Ham fans have clubbed together to pay a fine given to a pitch invader who took a free kick during the team’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur last month.
"You had consumed alcohol and your stride pattern was a bit out of kilter but to borrow a phrase you did bend it like Beckham. Regrettably it was about 30mph slower than Beckham."
A judge said Jordan Dunn, 22, “bent it like Beckham” when he kicked the ball towards West Ham’s goal at Upton Park on August 16, forcing a save from goalkeeper Adrian San Miguel del Castillo, while being chased by a steward amid cheers from the crowd.
The young father apologised for a “moment of madness” and pleaded guilty to entering the playing area without lawful authority or excuse when he appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
He was ordered to pay a total of £305 but escaped a match ban. But by Wednesday an online fundraising appeal dubbed “Jordan Dunn FineRaiser” reached enough to cover all his costs, after attracting 37 donations.
Dunn, of The Gateway, Dover, Kent, became an internet sensation as footage of the pitch invasion went global.
Passing sentence, District Judge Gareth Branston said: “On the afternoon of August 16 about 35,000 football fans sat down at Upton Park to watch 22 men in shorts and football boots kick a football around for 90 minutes.
“Those 22 men were paid for that, to entertain. Some time into that game a young man... ran onto the pitch. That was you. You weren’t paid to do that.”
The judge said the hotel receptionist proceeded to run “some 70 yards” down the pitch, chased by stewards - one of whom fell over - before arriving at the spot where Tottenham were lining up a free kick.
The judge said: “You took it for them. To be frank you were probably a little tired by the time you got to the ball. It was a longer run than was strictly necessary.
“You had consumed alcohol and your stride pattern was a bit out of kilter but to borrow a phrase you did bend it like Beckham. Regrettably it was about 30mph slower than Beckham.”
The judge said the effort was “easily” saved by the West Ham goalkeeper but, referring to Christian Eriksen’s subsequent effort, said: “I understand that the professional footballer who followed you did not do any better.”
Judge Branston said the shot drew “the cheers of the crowd” before he was tackled “in the customary manner” by stewards.
He also said it was a “small mercy” that Dunn had “decided to remain fully clothed”.
Dunn, who smiled as the judge compared his effort to the former England captain, told police it had been a dream of his to play at the home of his favourite team West Ham from a young age.
The judge said: “You told the police and you tell this court that having achieved your childhood ambition you won’t be doing it again.
“Others need to be deterred from attempting to do what you did otherwise football matches would become very tedious affairs if everyone was allowed to run onto the pitch.”
The judge said a greater risk was that “drunken hooligans” may invade the pitch and attack players, though he said he accepted that Dunn had “no violent motivation”.
He declined to impose a football banning order called for by the prosecution, given Dunn’s previous good character, his “motivations” on the day, his remorse and the fact that “you will not want disappoint your young son” by repeating the stunt.
Earlier Dunn told the judge he was “sorry” for committing the offence and admitted he had drunk around six beers before the match, but denied being a “hooligan”, “thug” or “yob”.
Asked what was going through his mind, Dunn said: “Nothing really - it was just a moment of madness. It was a spur of the moment thing. I just went.”
The judge said he had seen footage of the incident on YouTube and asked: “Were you intending to take the free kick?”
Dunn, who represented himself in court, replied: “No. All I was going to do was run and as I was running I just saw the ball there so I thought I would just kick it.”
He said his mother was initially “concerned” at first, adding: “When she saw the YouTube video she saw the funny side but she has had a go at me, as a mother would.”