Leeds United hooligan Aaron Cawley jailed for assaulting Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland
A Leeds United football fan from Cheltenham has been jailed for four months for assaulting former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland during a match on Friday night.
Aaron Cawley, from Hester's Way, admitted attacking a goalkeeper after running onto the pitch during a televised football match.
The 21-year-old pleaded guilty to assault and entering the field following Sheffield Wednesday's home match against Leeds on Friday night.
Cawley, who appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court this morning, was arrested after Wednesday keeper Chris Kirkland was pushed in the face during the game at Hillsborough.
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The incident was one of a number of ugly scenes at the Yorkshire derby, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Kirkland, who has played for England, was shoved to the ground moments after conceding an equaliser in the 76th minute.
A man was clearly seen running from the Leeds fans onto the pitch and pushed Kirkland in the face before running back into the crowd.
The incident was caught on camera by Sky Sports which was broadcasting the game.
Cawley, an unemployed labourer, was also fined £85 and handed a six year footabll banning order.
One of the conditions is for him to stay at least a mile away from football stadiums where Leeds United are playing on match days.
The court heard Cawley had drunk a lot of alcohol before the match and could not remember anything about it.
Before leaving Cheltenham he had drunk a number of cans of Stella Artois lager, three-quarters of a litre of vodka and when he arrived in Sheffield the court heard he had then drunk a further seven to 10 pints of cider.
It emerged in the hearing today that Cawley, who has an LUFC tatoo on his neck, had emailed police and Sky Sports apologising for his actions after he saw the footage.
Cawley's family went into hiding after receiving death threats from angry fans over the weekend.
They barricaded themselves into a secret address in the town as police arrested 21-year-old Cawley.
Police at his home said the family had been threatened by angry football fans over his role in the incident, and asked for them to be left in peace.
A man at the address yesterday, believed to be a family member, said: “Whatever has happened is nothing to do with us.
“Is what happened to Chris Kirkland as bad as getting death threats?
“I don’t think so.”
Since Sky’s images were beamed worldwide on Friday, social networking sites have been ablaze with comments condemning the attack.
Cawley has a history of football-related disorder.
When he was 16, he was banned from every ground in the country, but has breached the order at least twice.
The last time he appeared in court in relation to flouting the ban was September 2011.
At the appearance he said: “I am not a hooligan, I just want to go back to watching Leeds play.”
Paul Baker, chairman of Cheltenham Town, described the assault on Kirkland as “abhorrent”.
“It’s the sort of thing I had thought was in the past, but unfortunately it’s not,” he said.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones, himself the subject of abusive chants during the game, called for all Leeds fans to be banned from away games, while Leeds boss Neil Warnock blasted the offender as a “moron”.
The assault was one of a series of ugly incidents marring the match, which finished 1-1.
There were five arrests for various offences, including public order before and after the game, while three people were ejected from the ground and 12 were subject to dispersal orders.