Invader fan 'bent it like Beckham'

Jordan Dunn runs on to the pitch during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park.

Jordan Dunn runs on to the pitch during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park.

First published in National News © by

A football fan "bent it like Beckham" when he ran onto the pitch and took a free kick during a Premier League match, a judge said today.

Jordan Dunn, 22, from Dover in Kent, became an internet sensation after he kicked the ball towards the goal West Ham United were defending at Upton Park against Tottenham Hotspur last month.

His shot was saved by West Ham's Spanish goalkeeper Adrian San Miguel del Castillo while the fan was chased by a steward amid cheers from the crowd on August 16.

Today he apologised for a "moment of madness" as he pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 4 of the Football Offences Act 1991, which states that it is an offence to go onto the playing area without lawful authority or excuse.

He was fined a total of £305 but spared a ban from attending future matches.

Passing sentence at Thames Magistrates' Court in East London, District Judge Gareth Branston said: "On the afternoon of August 16 about 35,000 football fans sat down at Upton Park to watch 22 men in shorts and football boots kick a football around for 90 minutes.

"Those 22 men were paid for that, to entertain.

"Some time into that game a young man ... ran onto the pitch. That was you. You weren't paid to do that."

The judge said he proceeded to run "some 70 yards" across the pitch, chased by stewards - one of whom fell over - before arriving at the spot where Tottenham were lining up a free kick.

The judge said: "You took it for them. To be frank you were probably a little tired by the time you got to the ball.

"It was a longer run than was strictly necessary.

"You had consumed alcohol and your stride pattern was a bit out of kilter but to borrow a phrase you did bend it like Beckham.

"Regrettably it was about 30mph slower than Beckham."

The judge said the effort was "easily" saved by the West Ham goalkeeper but referred to Christian Eriksen's subsequent effort after play restarted, saying: "I understand that the professional footballer who followed you did not do any better."

Judge Branston said the shot drew "the cheers of the crowd" before he was tackled "in the customary manner" by stewards.

He also said it was a "small mercy" that Dunn had "decided to remain fully clothed".

Dunn, who smiled as the judge compared his effort to the former England captain, told police it had been a dream of his to play at the home of his favourite team West Ham from a young age.

The judge said: "You told the police and you tell this court that having achieved your childhood ambition you won't be doing it again.

"Others need to be deterred from attempting to do what you did otherwise football matches would become very tedious affairs if everyone was allowed to run onto the pitch."

The judge said a greater risk was that "drunken hooligans" may invade the pitch and attack players though he said he accepted that Dunn had "no violent motivation".

He said he could not condone the offence but must also put it into perspective.

The judge declined to impose a football banning order called for by the prosecution, saying he was taking into account Dunn's previous good character, his "motivations" on the day, the remorse he expressed and the fact that "you will not want disappoint your young son" by repeating the stunt.

Dunn told police in interview he had been a West Ham fan since he was a little boy and it had always been one of his dreams to "run on the pitch and kick the ball", the court heard.

Ben Edwards, prosecuting, added: "Now he could say he had done it. He also said now he had done what he wanted to do he is not going to do it again."

Earlier Dunn told the judge he was "sorry" for committing the offence and admitted he had drunk around six beers before the match but denied being a "hooligan", "thug" or "yob".

Asked what was going through his mind, Dunn said: "Nothing really - it was just a moment of madness. It was a spur of the moment thing. I just went."

The judge said he had seen footage of the incident on YouTube and asked: "Were you intending to take the free kick?"

Dunn replied: "No. All I was going to do was run and as I was running I just saw the ball there so I thought I would just kick it."

Dunn, who works as a receptionist at a hotel, said he has a ten-month old little boy.

Referring to the prospect of a banning order, he said: "I was a bit concerned that when my little boy grows up I want to take him to watch the football."

The judge asked if his mother had "expressed disapproval".

Dunn, who represented himself, said: "At first she was concerned because she didn't know the consequences but when she saw the YouTube video she saw the funny side but she has had a go at me, as a mother would."

He declined to comment after the hearing.

The pitch invasion provoked amusement on social media, with one fan saying the effort was better than Spurs star Eriksen's free kick once play had resumed.

He wrote on Twitter: "Fair play to that pitch invader at West Ham v Spurs.. He got the Free kick on target when Eriksen couldn't."

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