Suspected football hooligans face being banned from attending football matches following pitch violence when Aston Villa defeated local rivals West Brom 2-0 in the FA Cup earlier this year.
West Midlands Police charged planning officer Robert Bernard, 51, of Carisbrooke Road, Wednesdbury; builders agent Carl Ashmore, 29, of Kesteven Road, Hateley Heath, West Bromwich; and self-employed John Ritchie, 34, of Marnham Road, also in West Bromwich, with causing fear of unlawful violence after the sixth round FA Cup match in March. Ironically, the charges come as both teams prepare to go head-to-head in the Premier League on Saturday (19 September).
The trio will appear before Birmingham Magistrates Court on 16 October, and if found guilty will be hit with football banning orders barring them from attending matches. As part of their bail conditions imposed ahead of their court appearance, Bernard, Ashmore and Ritchie must not go within five miles of Villa Park before, during and after and games. They are also barred from and must not attend any regulated football fixture.
Villa fans streamed onto the pitch following their side's victory, which came after second half goals from Fabian Delph and Scott Sinclair. A number of arrests have been made in connection with the on-going investigation, with more set to follow. Police are also set to increase their presence at the Villa Park when Villa take on fierce rivals Birmingham City in a local derby in the third round of the League Cup on Tuesday.