Thursday 29th April 2010, 11:30AM BST.
Five football yobs were facing jail and match day bans today after admitting their role in a stand off between 100 rival West Bromwich Albion and Wolves hooligans.
David Parkes, Sukhraj Bobari, John Ritchie, Shawn Roche and Josh Hynd all pleaded guilty to using threatening words or behaviour following the confrontation in Wednesbury town centre.
The five were found not guilty of violent disorder on the instructions of a judge, but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence. Three men including a serving soldier were cleared by the jury and walked free from court.
Trouble flared on January 3 last year after Birmingham’s home match against Wolves was called off due to bad weather. On the same day Albion played Peterborough United at the Hawthorns. Police feared trouble because Wolves fans would have to pass through West Bromwich.
At around 6.30pm, dozens of Albion fans poured out of The Bellwether pub as five Wolves fans were being spoken to by police.
Bottles and bricks were thrown and the trouble escalated when a group of 60 Wolves fans, including Bobari, approached the pub.
Pc Martin Portman, who saw the drama unfold, said rockets were fired from the West Bromwich Albion group towards the Wolves group. Drivers were forced to stop in the road as missiles were hurled, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard yesterday.
Wolves fan Parkes, one of the original five spoken to by police, was said to be “gesturing” towards the Albion group.
Albion fan John Ritchie was said to be “leading at the front” of the Albion group, along with Shawn Roche. Albion fan Hynd was said to be shouting and beckoning the rival group to fight.
Mark Moore, John Simpson and soldier Matthew Foster were cleared of violent disorder. Judge Martin Walsh warned the other five that “all sentencing options, including custody,” remain open. Applications for banning orders will be made when they are sentenced on May 21, the court heard.
The men who admitted using threatening words or behaviour are: David Parkes, 44, of Griffiths Drive, Ashmore Park, Wolverhampton; Sukhraj Bobari, 19, of Tansley View, All Saints, Wolverhampton; John Ritchie, 29,of Carisbrooke Road, Friar Park, Wednesbury; Shawn Roche, 20, of Jervoise Street, Carters Green, West Bromwich; Josh Hynd, 18, of Willenhall Street, Darlaston
The jury was also told that Michael Cartwright, 41, of Bealeys Avenue, Wednesfield, and a 16-year-old from Darlaston will be allowed to drop their guilty pleas to violent disorder and will instead plead guilty to using threatening words or behaviour.
The cleared men are Matthew Foster, 31, of Roberts Road, Friar Park, Wednesbury, Mark Moore, 40, of Long Ley, Heath Town, Wolverhampton and John Simpson, 24, of Wyntor House, West Bromwich.
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