Football fan, 33, pleads guilty after wearing shirt with offensive reference to Hillsborough disaster at FA Cup final

19 June 2023, 11:24 | Updated: 19 June 2023, 13:15

White has pleaded guilty over wearing the shirt
White has pleaded guilty over wearing the shirt. Picture: Alamy/Social media

By Will Taylor

A Manchester United fan has pleaded guilty to displaying abusive writing after he wore a shirt to the FA Cup final that offensively referenced the Hillsborough disaster.

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James White admitted the charge over a shirt he took to the Manchester United v Manchester City game at Wembley earlier in June.

The shirt caused outrage online. It had the number "97" on the back, a reference to the number of victims who died in the disaster, with the words "Not Enough" emblazoned above it.

White, 33, or Warwickshire, admitted displaying threatening or abusive writing likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress at Willesden Magistrates Court on Monday.

He grinned as he arrived at court, and smiled as he was given a four year ban from attending football games.

He was also fined £1,000 and told to pay a £400 surcharge and £85 in costs.

There were 97 victims in the stadium crush at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough, Sheffield in 1989.

After White was arrested at Wembley Stadium, he told police: “You haven’t even asked me what the T-shirt means. My grandad died aged 97 and didn’t have enough kids.”

Read more: Married Premier League and England football star 'pays mistress £20k to stay silent after affair and abortion'

White pleaded guilty at court
White pleaded guilty at court. Picture: Alamy

In 2016, a jury at an inquest ruled the fans were unlawfully killed.

One person has been convicted of the tragedy, but it was on a minor health and safety charge.

Football clubs are trying to clamp down on chants about tragedies. Liverpool supporters have often been targeted by insulting songs about the deaths by rival fans.

Read More: Manchester United fan charged after 'wearing shirt mocking Hillsborough disaster to FA Cup final'

Manchester United has a fierce rivalry with Liverpool, but both have called on their fans to stop offensive songs.

The Football Association, which governs the game in England, said: "The FA strongly condemns the actions of the individual who wore a shirt referencing the Hillsborough disaster ahead of the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

"We saw a photograph of the offensive shirt on social media and immediately started working to identify the perpetrator.

The shirt caused huge offence after the photo was posted online
The shirt caused huge offence after the photo was posted online. Picture: Social media

"Our security team were able to quickly locate the individual based on the image, and we welcome the swift action which was then taken by the police.

"We will not tolerate abuse relating to Hillsborough or any football tragedy at Wembley Stadium and we will continue to work with the authorities to ensure strong action is taken against perpetrators."

White's was not the only arrest during the final on June 3, which Manchester City won at 2-1.

A total of 22 other people were arrested for offences including assault, affray, possession of drugs and drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof was hit by an object that was hurled from the stands after his team scored.

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