Hooligan jailed for 16 weeks for goalkeeper attack

A football hooligan was jailed for 16 weeks Monday for

assaulting a goalkeeper during an English league game following an

all-day drinking binge.

Aaron Cawley, a 21-year-old from Cheltenham, told police he was

so intoxicated after drinking a mix of lager, cider and vodka that

he doesn’t remember joining a pitch invasion and shoving former

England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland in the face during Sheffield

Wednesday’s match against Leeds on Friday.

Cawley, a Leeds fans, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of

assault and entering the field of play when he appeared at

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court. He received a six-year banning order

from football grounds – the third time he has been handed such a

sanction.

Leeds said it will ban Cawley for life from the team’s Elland

Road ground once the banning order expires, but felt the sentence

was too lenient.

”While we are pleased to see justice brought so quickly, our

one disappointment is that we feel the sentence could, and should,

have been considerably longer,” Leeds said in a statement.

Kirkland, who plays for Wednesday and won his one cap for

England in 2006, needed medical treatment after being knocked to

the ground by Cawley amid violent scenes at Hillsborough, which was

all broadcast live on British television. Kirkland told police it

was like he had been ”hit by a ton of bricks.”

The Football Association has launched an investigation into the

crowd trouble at the game, which also saw bottles being thrown onto

the pitch and offensive chanting from both sets of fans.

Prosecutors said Cawley, an unemployed laborer, told police

officers he had consumed several cans of lager and three-quarters

of a liter of vodka before he had arrived in Sheffield by train. He

said he then drank as many as 10 pints of cider before the match

started.

Judge Naomi Redhouse was told that Cawley, who has breached his

football banning orders four times, only realized what he had done

when other people told him and he saw himself on TV. He immediately

made contact with police.