'Monkey gestures' West Brom fan hit with lifetime ban from club

A West Bromwich Albion fan who made racist monkey gestures has received a lifetime ban from the club.

Neil Grainger
Neil Grainger

Neil Grainger, from Cheslyn Hay, Staffordshire, was handed a three-year ban from all football matches after being convicted after a racially-aggravated public order offence.

He has also been slapped with a lifetime ban from the Baggies over his actions which took place between the club's clash with Birmingham City last year.

The 36-year-old was sitting in a home stand at The Hawthorns when he was spotted making the hand movements by another fan, who reported it to a nearby officer.

Grainger was convicted of the offence after a trial at Dudley Magistrates' Court on March 30. He received a three-year football banning order to cover all matches across the UK. He was also given a fine and court costs totalling almost £1,500.

Pc Stuart Ward, West Midlands Police's football hate crime officer, said: "These were appalling and very offensive actions which have no place within football or society in general.

"The supporter who witnessed this did exactly the right thing in reporting it, as it helped us secure a criminal conviction against Grainger.

"The supporter told us they felt disgusted and ashamed anyone could do this at a match, and it's a view I'm sure proper football fans will share.

"This conviction not only tarnishes Grainger's reputation but can impact on employment and travel in future. He's also lost a hobby in not being able to attend football games.

"It was clear during the pandemic how much football fans missed being at a live game with friends or family. Now through his own highly offensive actions he must miss out again for another three years."

West Bromwich Albion bosses announced they would not tolerate any form of discrimination as they hit Grainger, who made the gestures at the match on October 15 last year, with a lifetime ban.

Chief executive Ron Gourlay said: "We will not tolerate any form of discrimination and our message to supporters remains clear; racism is totally unacceptable, and we will continue to seek the toughest available sanctions in reprimanding anyone found guilty of such an offence.

"Albion has a proud history of fighting racism and we will not hesitate in acting to ensure The Hawthorns is a safe and welcoming environment for all.

"Our staff will continue to work with supporters and West Midlands Police to ensure all instances of racism, either at The Hawthorns, at an away fixture, or online, are reported. Anyone who is found guilty of such an offence will be banned from the club for life.

"We again place on record our thanks to Pc Stuart Ward, West Midlands Police’s dedicated football hate crime officer, who worked with the club throughout this case."

West Bromwich Albion claimed a 1-0 victory over Birmingham City during the clash in October 15, with Karlan Grant scoring the only goal. The two sides will meet again on Sunday.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News