A Manchester City fan has been from football for three years for a racist monkey chant at Manchester United players during a Manchester derby in the Premier League in December 2019.
42-year-old Anthony Burke was captured in full view of television cameras making monkey gestures and chants in the direction of United trio Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Fred, with clips of the incident immediately going viral on social media.
Burke pleaded not guilty to racially aggravated public order offence when he was formally charged last year, but has now been found guilty at a trial at Tameside magistrates court.
He denied the charge of racism and insisted that he only swore at the players, while claiming he made one continuous ‘ooooo’ noise, rather than ‘oo, oo, oo’ like a monkey.
However, a steward on duty at the Etihad Stadium also served as a witness to attest that it was indeed a racist gesture.
“It was racism. I saw a large gentleman with a beard going: ‘Oo, oo, oo, oo’ – 100% that’s what he was doing. I have never seen anyone do a monkey chant,” steward Frank Coulson said.
“The air can be blue where I work but what made this one different was it was below the belt.”
In addition to being banned from all football stadiums for the next three years, a punishment many might feel is not severe enough if racism is to be truly eradicated from football Burke was also fined £500, ordered to pay costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £50.
He left the court with a hood completely covering his head, determined to try and hide his identity.