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Dirty Tackle

Man charged with vandalizing St James’ Park, Newcastle fans offer to pay his fine

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That's not how you spell 'Sports Direct Arena' (BBC)

That's not how you spell 'Sports Direct Arena' (BBC)

When Mike Ashley honored the 120-year heritage of St James' Park by changing its name to the Sports Direct Arena in February this year, a number of Magpies fans were angered by the sportswear-selling antics of their club owner.

Supporter Michal Atkinson was so angry that he spray-painted "St James" on the wall where the stadium's famous moniker was once emblazoned. Although he wasn't the only fan to graffiti the wall, he was stupid enough to get caught, and was today slapped with a criminal damage charge by a Newcastle magistrate. Reports the BBC:

Magistrates handed him a conditional discharge and told him to pay £100 [$160] towards the £187 [$300] clean-up costs after he pleaded guilty to criminal damage.

The court heard Atkinson had drunk eight cans of lager and had read messages on Facebook about the name change.

Since Atkinson is unemployed, a fans' group has kindly stepped in and offered to pay his fine — without even questioning why he could afford eight cans of lager before committing his crime. The 30-year-old has also been banned from attending Newcastle games, which, once again, shouldn't be a problem for a man with no income to pay for tickets.

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