Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Hooligan Book Gets Author a Soccer Ban

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Hooligan Book Gets Author a Soccer Ban

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Underwood

An ex-soccer thug scored a major own goal after his book on Boro football hooligans was used to ban him from Euro 2004.

Dad-of-three John Pulling, 46, of Staintondale Avenue, Redcar, was yesterday banned from attending any football match in the world until December 2, 2006.

District Judge Stephen Earl, at Teesside Magistrates' Court, used Mr Pulling's book "Frontline - Battling for the Boro" as evidence to issue the hard-hitting ban.

Boro season ticket holder Mr Pulling, who claims he retired from hooliganism more than ten years ago, catalogued clashes involving Middlesbrough's notorious Frontline hooligan firm in the book.

He was the first person on Teesside to challenge an application for the strict football banning orders - but became the tenth to be banned by Cleveland Police's football banning unit.

Mr Pulling told the Gazette after the hearing: "I'm gutted. The hearing was fair and the judge did everything that the law said he must do.

"But as far as the law is concerned surrounding banning orders, I don't think it takes into account people's circumstances and lumps people into one category."

He added: "If I had known this book was going to stop me from going to football matches then I wouldn't have written it."

Detective Sergeant Ian Fawcett, Cleveland Police's football intelligence co-ordinator, was delighted with the ruling.

He said: "I'm happy with the outcome. The message is clear that if you are a football hooligan we will be looking for you to secure a ban, not only for England games, but for domestic matches as well.

"Our work doesn't stop here though. We are going to continue pursuing orders in the build up to the World Cup in 2006."

Stephen Twist, prosecuting, told the court how Mr Pulling was "a highly manipulative football hooligan".

He said Mr Pulling was caught by police spotters rubbing shoulders with known Teesside football thugs at Boro matches in London, Leeds, Sunderland, Wigan and Manchester where disorder took place. …

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