Fight at football match followed rash challenge

The manager of a nightclub was left with a suspected broken nose after a football match turned sour.

David Stapleton told Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court a friendly kick around had become “fiery” and he believed Daniel Brind, from Glemsford, had attacked him.

Mr Brind, from Harper’s Road, denied a charge of assault when he appeared in the dock on Tuesday.

Prosecutor David Bryant said the two men had been playing for separate teams in a six-a-side league when the incident had occurred at Bury Rugby Club last October.

Giving evidence, Mr Stapleton, a director at LP in Bury, said the match had turned bad tempered and he had been the victim of a rash tackle that could have broken his leg.

“There was then a confrontation between me and some of their players and a player came at me and tried to strike me,” he said.

Magistrates heard that Mr Stapleton avoided the blow, but was then hit in the face by another player’s fist or forearm.

“I heard my nose break and was in a lot of pain,” he said. “I could feel the bone sticking out of my nose.”

Mr Stapleton said he knew who had inflicted the injury and claimed the man responsible was Mr Brind, 36.

Witness Richard Mutimer, who was playing in the match and used to work for Mr Stapleton, said he thought members of the rival team may have been drinking beforehand and had seen his team-mate struck with an elbow.

“It was a hard blow with a high amount of aggression,” he said.

Martin Burrows, who was refereeing the game, told the court that the match was abandoned as a result of the incident. He had seen “fists and arms flying all over the place”.

He said an LP player had been seen in a headlock, but he was not sure who the attacker was.

David Cason, defending, claimed Mr Stapleton had started the scuffle by spraying water at opposition players, and that his client had only acted as a peacemaker.

Mr Brind said he had pulled players out of the brawl and ushered them away.

“I ran over to split the scuffle up and had no intention of breaking anyone’s nose,” he said.

Magistrates found Mr Brind not guilty.