Liverpool Fan Phillip Gannon Found Guilty Of Racially Abusing Manchester United Defender Patrice Evra

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
EVRA
Evra was roundly booed by Liverpool fans on his return to Anfield after being racially abused by Luis Suarez | Getty Images

A Liverpool FC fan has been found guilty of racially abusing rival Manchester United supporters and their club captain Patrice Evra.

Phillip Gannon, 58, was seen on live television doing a racially offensive monkey impression, Liverpool Magistrates' Court was told.

The incident happened amid a volatile atmosphere at Anfield on January 28 this year when the two sides met in an FA Cup fourth round clash, Rob Girvan, prosecuting, said.

It was the first game between the Premier League rivals since an eight-match ban was imposed on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez after the FA found him guilty of racially abusing Mr Evra.

In the 23rd minute of the game the TV camera panned over fans in the lower Centenary Stand, where Gannon was sitting with two friends, and he was seen to position his hands under his armpits.

The coverage, broadcast worldwide by ITV, quickly spread across social networking site Twitter and complaints were made to police, the court heard.

One trial witness also told the court he heard Gannon say towards Evra: "Tu es petit noir homme merde" ("You little black shit man").

Gannon, a carpenter and joiner, repeatedly shouted "pikey", "pikey twats", "pikey bastards" and "pikey c****" at opposing fans throughout the game, the bench was told.

He also shouted: "F*** off you spastic mutants" in the direction of disabled supporters watching the game nearby, a witness said.

Gannon, 58, of Heol Meirion, Barmouth, north Wales, was found guilty of two counts of using abusive or insulting words within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused alarm or distress.

The court heard the offences were racially aggravated, despite Gannon's claims that the "monkey" gesture was a reference to "cavemen" and that he never abused Evra in French.

But the chairman of the bench, who declined to give his name, said they deemed it to be a monkey gesture, adding that it was "clearly racist" and the bench also believed that Gannon shouted a racist insult at Evra in French when he came towards the touchline.

"There is no doubt that this was a racist remark," he said.

Gannon sat about eight rows back from the pitch at the Anfield Road end of the Centenary Stand, the court heard.
The Manchester United fans were in the Anfield Road stand about 20 to 30 yards away.

Gannon also said that at the time he was unaware that "Pikey" was a racial slur against the travelling community.

Around the Web

Shooting from the Hip - The burning issue of racism in football

Uefa fighting racism - Platini laments

Olisadebe: 'Racism in football is barbaric'

UGA Football Players visit Camp

Euro 2012 storylines dominated by racism, not football