Football ban for hooligan as he is told to hand over his passport
A FOOTBALL hooligan who repeatedly incited violence between Derby County supporters and rival fans has been given a three-year ban from all games in England and Wales.
James Underwood, of Mackworth, must also hand over his passport to police so he cannot attend next month's World Cup after magistrates in Derby imposed the banning order.
It is the second time the 21-year-old, who associates himself with a gang of football thugs known as the Derby Lunatic Fringe, has been banned from matches.
He was given a similar ban in 2006 – when he was 17 – after being arrested and convicted of a public order offence related to football.
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Underwood was asked, after the banning order was imposed yesterday at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court, why he caused trouble.
He said: "I hold my hands up. I try and stop doing it but it's difficult – I can't tell you why I do it."
Derbyshire police put together a file of information on Underwood, of Cricklewood Road, which outlined the trouble he had been involved in.
It included being part of a group of Derby County fans that was involved in a ruckus with rival Nottingham Forest supporters in September 2007.
In that brawl, chairs and bottles were thrown between the warring groups. He was again involved in trouble with Forest fans in January and September 2009.
Underwood was also involved in violence or disorder between Derby County fans and groups of Sheffield Wednesday supporters in November 2008 and October 2009; Everton fans in April 2009; and Leicester City followers in October 2009. The order imposed means Underwood cannot attend any football games until at least May 2013.
PC Paul Russell, a football intelligence officer for Derbyshire police, told the court: "Nine times out of ten, when banning orders are imposed, the people who are subject to them will change their ways.
"But someone like James, who hangs about in that social group and has maintained contact with them, his behaviour has not changed."
Football intelligence officer PC Alan Guy was involved in the prosecution of Derby County and Nottingham Forest fans who fought in Derby city centre in January last year. He was also in court and said he was "pleased" that the magistrates had listened to officers' concerns.
"It will definitely assist us in trying to prevent trouble," he said.