A Spalding man has been found guilty of using a racial slur at a football match.
Peter Chapman, 66, had denied a charge of using racially aggravated words likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
He admitted using a three-letter word but insisted it was not a racial slur and wasn’t directed towards Allan Ross, manager of Horncastle Town at the time.
Magistrates at Boston on Friday found that it could not be proven that Chapman had used the word towards Mr Ross but said it should not be used in any context.
It happened during a match between Pinchbeck United and Lutterworth Town at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field in Spalding on October 31, 2020.
Mr Ross, a former assistant manager at Pinchbeck attending as a spectator, said Chapman looked him straight in the eye as he said to Pinchbeck chairman Gary Coomes: “I see you’ve let a wog into the stadium.
“It was as though he wanted me to hear, even though it wasn’t directed at me.”
Mr Ross said the comment stirred a “lot of emotion” within him and he went to confront Chapman who had walked off.
He told Boston Magistrates’ Court on Friday: “I’ve been on the end of racist comments not just in football but in general life as well.
“Now is the time to say enough is enough. I have always tolerated it but it’s got to the point where I shouldn’t.”
During his trial, Chapman – who was a volunteer helper with Pinchbeck – claimed he didn’t know Mr Ross was alongside Mr Coomes at the time.
But, in any event, he said he didn’t consider the word to be a racial slur and quoted three uses of it which he claimed were acceptable.
Chapman, of Chapel Lane, insisted that he was referring to a Caribbean catering van at the ground.
He told the hearing that he’d said to Mr Coomes: “I don’t think the *** food van should be here.”
Mr Coomes, whom the court told was a good friend of Mr Ross, gave evidence for the prosecution.
He said he was “absolutely certain” the phrase was: “I see you are still doing that *** food.”
The court was told that Mr Ross asked Mr Coomes whether Chapman had said what he thought he he’d said. Mr Coomes said “yes” but, importantly, the full phrase wasn’t confirmed, Mr Coomes was only acknowledging the use of that single word.
Mr Ross told Chapman he should “knock him out” before leaving the ground. He said he’d asked Mr Coomes to eject Chapman.
Bench chair Helen Brown said: “Without supporting evidence as to what was actually said, we do not feel we have sufficient proof that Mr Chapman’s words were aimed directly at Mr Ross.
“Mr Chapman accepts his use of the word. However, it is our view that even in that context, the word *** would cause, and did, alarm and distress to Mr Ross, who was in earshot.
“We don’t consider the word acceptable in any context or should be used within the hearing of anyone.”
Chapman was fined £240 and ordered to pay £100 compensation to Mr Ross, £310 in costs and £334 victim surcharge.