A football fan was banned from attending games for three years today after he admitted racially abusing the mother of Premier League striker Darren Bent.
Sunderland supporter John Davison, 26, of Chester-le-Street, shouted abuse at Shirley Bent as she walked past him on the way to watch her son play away at Wigan Athletic.
Mrs Bent turned round to see a group of men laughing and giving each other “high fives” in the stadium car park, Wigan Magistrates’ Court was told.
They returned to a bar where they had been drinking but she was so upset she decided to confront them and pointed the men out to security officials.
Police brought Davison to her where she told him she only wanted an apology. He said sorry and added that the Sunderland and England forward was one of his favourite players and he would get a tattoo of him on his arm.
Mrs Bent changed her mind on not taking further action against him when she told her son about the incident after his team’s 1-0 defeat on November 28 last year.
It is understood that shortly after the game Bent wrote on his Twitter page: “So we get beat by Wigan and to make matters worse my mum gets racially abused by a SUNDERLAND fan. I won’t stand for that.”
Davison handed himself into police after he returned home following the match to learn of media reports of the incident.
He went on to send a bunch of flowers and a letter of apology to Mrs Bent.
Davison, of Avondale Terrace, pleaded guilty to using threatening words or behaviour in a racially aggravated manner.
He was given a three-year ban order from attending football matches, fined £170 (€194) and ordered to pay Mrs Bent £50 (€57) compensation for any distress caused to her.