Supporter banned after racism conviction
A Newcastle United season ticket holder has received a five-year football banning order after being convicted of racially abusing Liverpool players during a Premier League match at St. James’ Park.
On 4th May 2019, Michael Collins was observed directing racist abuse at players during an undercover stewarding operation and was subsequently arrested by Northumbria Police.
After being found guilty of racially aggravated harassment at North Tyneside Magistrates Court, Collins has now been formally handed a five-year football banning order, meaning he will be banned from attending all home and away matches in that period.
In addition, Newcastle United has banned Collins from the stadium for an indefinite period.
Steve Storey, head of safety and security at Newcastle United, said: "Racism has absolutely no place at St. James’ Park or in our city and we will continue to do everything we can to drive it out of football and society.
"We want to send a clear message that any instances of discrimination will be dealt with as strongly as possible by the club with the support of Northumbria Police and other agencies.
"St. James’ Park is a wonderful place to experience football and, together with our supporters and partners, we will continue to ensure it is a welcoming, inclusive and vibrant place for everyone."
Newcastle United fans send a message that discrimination is not welcome at St. James' Park
Chief Inspector Chris Grice, who was Northumbria Police’s match commander for the game, said: "There is absolutely no place in society for racism, whether that is in the middle of the street, on social media or at a football match.
"We have a fantastic relationship with our region’s football clubs and have been working with them for some time to root out this type of behaviour and stamp out all forms of abuse.
"Newcastle United fans are some of the most passionate football fans in the world and the vast majority of them are well behaved and a credit to the region.
"We hope this particular conviction, and subsequent banning order, gives those fans the confidence to call out abusive behaviour in the terraces and report it to stewards and the police.
"Northumbria Police will continue to work with the club to make our St. James’ Park a safe environment for all but we need your help to hold people like Michael Collins to account.”
Collins, 57, of Olav Road, Richmond, appeared before North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 22nd May, where he was handed the banning order and also fined £550.
If you experience or witness discrimination or feel threatened at St. James’ Park, please speak to your nearest steward or police officer.
Alternatively, please text HELP followed by your seat location and details of the incident to 60070.
United As One
In April 2019, Newcastle United launched United As One - the new brand for the club’s continued work in the fields of diversity, inclusion and welfare.
The United As One solidarity ribbon was worn by the players during the Premier League match against Southampton in April 2019
At the team’s Premier League match against Southampton that afternoon, a new United As One 'solidarity ribbon’ was featured right across St. James’ Park, including players’ shirts, matchday programme, social media, stadium big screen, poster sites and pitch perimeter advertising.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Newcastle United's managing director, Lee Charnley, said: "We are proud of the work we are doing to improve inclusion and welfare at our club.
"With great support from the players, staff, supporters, sponsors and the Premier League, we are working to cultivate a culture as varied as that of the great city we are honoured to represent."
To find out more, please visit www.nufc.co.uk/UnitedAsOne.
"Racism has absolutely no place at St. James’ Park or in our city."