July 24 2014 Latest news:
by Rory Brigstock-Barron
Sunday, May 11, 2014
A die-hard Arsenal fan has gained support from MPs and councillors in his bid to have his ban from the club’s stadium lifted.
Mick Doherty of Lidyard Road, Archway, says he has been unfairly barred from the Emirates Stadium because of an incident in 2012 not related to football.
The 46-year-old was sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid work for threatening words and behaviour during an argument with another Arsenal fan but a banning order applied for by the police was thrown out by a judge.
Despite this the club chose to ban him from attending the stadium, where he has raised more than £100,000 for charity.
Mr Doherty has claimed that police in riot gear turned up at his home to serve him the notice.
Mr Doherty has since received support from nearly 2,000 people in an online petition against his ban, and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn has written a letter to the club asking them to let him have his say.
“The officer didn’t tell the club that the judge had turned down the banning order they applied for and she told the club that I had breached bail by going to an away game at Reading, which was 10 days before the incident even happened,” said Mr Doherty.
“The judge refused the application stating that it was obvious that this was nothing to do with football.
“This ban sets a worrying precedent for all Arsenal supporters as any non-football related conviction can lead to a ‘club ban’. ”
Mr Doherty has launched an official complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) while Islington Police are investigating his claims.
In a letter to Arsenal Mr Corbyn wrote: “Mr Doherty has been banned from the club even though an application for a football banning order was withdrawn in court.
“It seems very unfair that to date the club has not seen fit to correspond with Mr Doherty. You might think it appropriate to give the matter further attention.”
An Arsenal spokeman said: “The original decision which prevents him from attending any fixtures or events at Emirates Stadium was based on evidence and consultation with Metropolitan Police. We have no plans to overturn Mr Doherty’s ban at this time.”