Ex-Spurs star faces jail for punching Tesco worker and trashing store in row over cigarettes

27 January 2022, 17:06

Chris Armstrong playing for Spurs
Chris Armstrong playing for Spurs. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

Tottenham Hotspur's former record signing faces jail for trashing a local Tesco store and punching a worker after being told he couldn't buy cigarettes.

Chris Armstrong, 50, caused £2,000 damage when he kicked over security scanners and punched employee Alex Boatang in the attack at the supermarket

Ex-striker Chris Armstrong, 50, ran amok at the supermarket in Fulham Road, Chelsea, when staff said the shop was shut at 2.15am on July 18 last year.

He caused £2,000 of damage when he kicked over security scanners and punched employee Alex Boatang.Armstrong, dressed smartly in a black suit and tie, today appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court where he admitted common assault and criminal damage.Prosecutor Nathan Fuller said: "Officers were called to Tesco because of a report of an aggressive and violent man smashing up the store."He gained access to the store by forcing his way through the door demanding cigarettes.

"The store was temporarily closed because the staff were taking a break."When he was told he couldn't buy cigarettes he became aggressive."

Armstrong kicked over security scanners, a stand of baskets and damaged other property in the store.Mr Boatang then tried to confront Armstrong, telling him to stop - but he "turned and punched the worker in the face with a closed fist".

Armstrong knows the shop well and has been purchasing cigarettes there for 14 years, she said.Chair of the bench Alan Elias ordered probation reports but warned: "We do think the community order threshold has been passed."Armstrong was granted bail ahead of sentencing at Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 1.

Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne he started his career at Wrexham in 1989 and played for Millwall before joining Crystal Palace.

After netting 45 times for the Eagles he became Spurs' most expensive signing at the time when he joined for £4.5m in 1995.

He earned an England call-up under Kevin Keegan but only played one 'B' international and ended his career back at Wrexham in 2005.Armstrong became the first-ever Premier League player to fail a drug test after testing positive for cannabis in March 1995.

He was convicted of possessing cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy at Hammersmith Magistrates' Court and fined £375 in September 2016.