Fan who abused EPL stars guilty
A man was found guilty of racially abusing two Premier League footballers in front of his wife, children and grandson by a London court on Monday.
Everton supporter William Blything shouted the racist abuse at Queens Park Rangers' South Korean star Park Ji-Sung and Everton forward Victor Anichebe during a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road on October 21.
Blything, of Moss Pits Lane in Wavertree, Liverpool, denied a single count of racially-aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress but was found guilty at West London Magistrates' Court.
However, District Judge Jeremy Coleman said Blything would not face a custodial penalty when he is sentenced on February 11.
The judge said: "If the players had heard these comments - and there is no evidence that they did - it would have caused them upset."
The 42-year-old Blything was arrested after he was reported to stewards by two fellow Everton fans as he watched the game with his wife, 16-year-old daughter, 11-year-old son and three-year-old grandson.
Giving evidence in court on Monday, Everton supporter Neil Jordan said he was "outraged" by the abuse and tweeted a picture of Blything, before reporting him to stewards.
Jordan said he first noticed Blything as he made one of his children cry by telling him to "man up" when QPR scored a goal.
He later heard the defendant refer to Anichebe, who is originally from Nigeria, as a "fucking black monkey".
Jordan said: "There was clearly some intent to target that player because, in my opinion, of the colour of his skin, coupled with general agitation and abuse aimed at the home end and abuse towards another opposition player."
Also giving evidence, Everton fan John Murmame said he heard Blything shout "Take down that Chink" in reference to Park.
"I go to a lot of football games but this was exceptional," he said.
Last October, Chelsea captain John Terry was given a four-month suspension and £220 000 fine for racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand during a match in October 2011.
Coleman added: "This took place at a football match and we have a major problem as far as racist behaviour at football is concerned."
Conducting his own defence Blything, originally from Southampton, southern England, said he had been the victim of mistaken identity.
He argued that both witnesses – who were at the game separately – had described the offender as having a Liverpool accent, whereas he does not.
Blything, speaking outside court, said: "I have never used that kind of language in my life – never have done and never will.
"I was brought up in a black community and my 17-year-old daughter has a coloured boyfriend.
"There is something wrong with the justice system as far as I am concerned."