Football fan avoids jail after being racist online about black England players

9 September 2021, 10:17 | Updated: 9 September 2021, 11:18

He was given a suspended sentence for his comments about Sancho (L), Rashford (C) and Saka (R)
He was given a suspended sentence for his comments about Sancho (L), Rashford (C) and Saka (R). Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A football fan has avoided jail after he admitted to posting racist comments on social media about three of England's black footballers following the Euro 2020 final.

Scott McCluskey, 43, was handed a 14-week suspended sentence for messages written online about Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho.

He blamed the trio of black footballers for the Three Lions' heartbreaking loss to Italy in the penalty shoot-out on 11 July, Warrington Magistrates' Court heard.

The defendant wrote: "Well it took three ethnic players to f*** it up. Unlucky England. Sack them three monkeys."

Read more: Gavin Williamson confuses Marcus Rashford for Maro Itoje

Read more: Premier League players will keep taking the knee in new season

Black caller responds to racial abuse directed at England footballers

All three players missed their spot-kicks, which led to them receiving a torrent of racist abuse on social media immediately after the game.

On Wednesday, McCluskey - of Blyth Close, Runcorn - admitted a single charge of sending an offensive or abusive message by a public communication network.

Before being handed his suspended sentence, which will include 30 days of rehabilitation work on racism and diversity, he sat in the dock hunched over with his head in his hands.

Read more: Online racists will be banned from football matches, PM confirms

Watch: 'Seething' caller says racism still prevalent in football after 35 years

Johnson: People racially abusing players to be banned from games

Defending the 43-year-old, Dave Robb said his client had no previous convictions and had now lost his good character.

Asking for a suspended sentence, Mr Robb added: "As a consequence of one stupid mistake, this posting, he bitterly regrets it. It may have been influenced by cannabis, that's no excuse.

"He can't say sorry enough. He knows he's done wrong."

Responding to district judge Nicholas Sanders' decision, the defendant, whose partner is also his carer, told him: "All I can say is I'm deeply ashamed."

McCluskey sighed and looked up at the ceiling as he was told the offence merited immediate custody, but due to his lack of previous convictions, early guilty plea, his show of remorse and the prospect of rehabilitation spoken of in his probation report, the judge gave the defendant a second chance and suspended the sentence.

First black England scorer says booing taking the knee 'isn't racist'

Judge Sanders added: "This sort of online abuse seems to have gained some sort of traction in our society and it is entirely unacceptable.

"It is something which has the capability to cause real harm not just to individuals, such as the three footballers concerned, but to wider society as a whole.

"This is a foul offence which has far-reaching consequences not only for you but the general public."

McCluskey was also ordered to observe a weekend curfew on Saturdays and Sundays, monitored by an electronic tag, and made to pay £85 costs and a £128 victim surcharge, to be deducted from his benefits.

Black James O'Brien caller on football fans who boo taking the knee

Earlier, Simon Green, of the prosecution, told the court the defendant's Facebook post was met with "condemnation and outrage" and was reported by someone who had themselves been affected by racism.

McCluskey claimed he posted the message to make people laugh, saying, "it was a joke", and later deleted the post, but not before it was reported to Cheshire Police.

Mr Green said at the time of the posting "feelings were high" and there were already concerns about racist abuse online, particularly aimed at footballers.

District Judge Sanders had ordered an urgent probation report before passing sentence.

He said: "Nobody should abuse anyone for the colour of their skin, to do so against three young men, clearly doing their very best for their country, is frankly sickening."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Keir Starmer said he was "really shocked" at the footage

'Shocked' Keir Starmer accuses police of 'animal cruelty' after runaway cow rammed five times with squad car

The OceanGate submersible has five people on board

Poignant CGI shows how deep doomed Titan descended on it's ill-fated final journey to the Titanic wreck

Nigel Farage vows to fix 'broken Britain' as he launches Reform UK election 'contract'

Nigel Farage vows to fix 'broken Britain' as he launches Reform UK election 'contract'

Shanika Ocean who plays DC Anna Gilchrist in Silent Witness

Silent Witness actress tells of terror after hooded man tries to get in her car near Tower Bridge

Police were called to Blair Way, Aberavon on Monday

Man, 24, airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after dog attack

Nigel Farage confirmed his ambition to be prime minister by 2029

Nigel Farage reveals ambition to be Prime Minister by 2029 ahead of Reform UK manifesto launch

A missing American tourist has been found dead on a beach on a small Greek island west of Corfu, local media reports

American tourist who went missing on hike found dead on Greek island days after death of Dr Michael Mosley

Joshua Merchan-Nicholls

Would-be pilot needs £106,000 for flight training after losing funding when company that backed him shut

Alan won eight League titles and three European Cups with Liverpool

Alan Hansen ‘on the mend’ and sounding ‘fabulous’ says his friend Graeme Souness

French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet was one of the five passengers on board Titan

Daughter of 'Mr Titanic' killed in Titan tragedy pays tribute to father one year on from disaster


Greek coastguard caused dozens of deaths in Mediterranean - including nine who were deliberately thrown in water, investigation finds

Police rammed the cow

New ‘heartbreaking’ videos show close up of ‘3rd or 4th attempt’ as police ram 4x4 into terrified cow

Mr Shapps told LBC the Tories are 'underdogs'

Defence secretary says Tories are the ‘underdogs’ with weeks to go until General Election

Grant StClair-Armstrong says he was forced to stand down by the Reform UK party

Reform UK candidate resigns after blog posts calling for people to vote for British National Party emerge

THIS! has issued a recall notice to customers over its vegan chicken and bacon wrap which is sold at WHSmith

Third company recalls popular food product as a 'precautionary measure' due to possible E. coli contamination

An 84-year-old woman died a day after being admitted to hospital on Friday

Two die as ‘record-breaking’ 40C heatwave grips Greece, Cyprus and Turkey with red alert issued