A 21-year-old Newcastle University student has denied racially abusing ex-England striker Stan Collymore on Twitter.
Joshua Cryer, of Jesmond, Northumberland, pleaded not guilty at Newcastle magistrates court to a public order charge after the ex-Liverpool player lodged a complaint.
Collymore said the Twitter messages were grossly offensive - but the law student denied he sent them.
Cryer was arrested in January after Collymore reported the alleged abuse to Staffordshire police who passed the information on to Northumbria officers.
Collymore actively campaigns against racism and was one of the infamous "Spice Boys" on the late 1990s.
Magistrates adjourned the case until 2 April.
The ex-Liverpool, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest player now works for popular sport radio show, TalkSport.