• Premier League

Pitch invader apologises to Ferdinand

ESPN staff
December 10, 2012

The Manchester City fan who ran onto the pitch to confront Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has apologised for his actions.

Matthew Stott, 21, was intercepted by City goalkeeper Joe Hart at the Etihad Stadium, after he entered the playing area in an attempt to accost Ferdinand - who was running back after celebrating Robin van Persie's winner in United's eventual 3-2 victory.

The landscape gardener, who has been a City season ticket holder for three years, released a statement through his solicitors apologising for his conduct - after being charged by police with pitch encroachment.

"I would like to apologise to all those affected by my actions yesterday, particularly Mr Ferdinand and the other players," Stott said, speaking through firm Stephen Lickrish and Associates.

"I am extremely ashamed of my actions. I have let myself down, my family down, my fellow fans down and Manchester City Football Club.

"I intend to write personally to Mr Ferdinand to express my extreme regret and apologies and also apologise to Manchester United and their fans.

"I would like to thank Joe Hart for his actions when I came on the pitch.

"I have been a fan of Manchester City Football Club all my life and I have been a season ticket holder for three years and I attend the games with my father. I have had the same seat in the section next to the away fans for those three years."

City have stripped Stott of his season ticket for the remainder of the season, and have warned him that a lifetime ban is likely if he is found guilty of pitch encroachment.

Rebecca Caulfield, a solicitor at Stephen Lickrish & Associates, is representing Stott.

She added: "Mr Stott is a hard-working man who has held a full-time job as a landscape gardener for four years and lives with his partner of five years.

"He has never been to court before and has never been in trouble with any of the stewards at Manchester City Football Club before, or at any other ground.

"He is extremely remorseful and is mortified by his behaviour, which is completely out of character.

"This was a momentary mistake by Mr Stott, which has led to him being charged, brought shame on his family, and will bring sanctions on the club that Mr Stott has supported all his life."

She added: "Mr Stott will accept the consequences of his actions.

"He would like to make clear that he is not the stereotypical drunken football fan but a fan that attends games with his father.

"He is embarrassed and ashamed of his temporary moment of madness that has brought wider consequences on the club he supports and his fellow fans."

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police has confirmed it is still working closely with City to identify the fan who threw the object that hit Ferdinand in the minutes preceding Stott's pitch invasion.

A total of 13 fans have now been arrested following events related to Sunday's game, on a variety of offences.

"To have just 13 arrests for a crowd of this size and a match of this proportion is a testament to the policing operation we put in place," said chief inspector Steve Howard.

"Despite fierce rivalry and high tension there was no major disorder. However, we will continue to investigate the coin-throwing incident and are determined to work with the club to bring the perpetrator to justice."

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