A CONVICTED football lout could face jail after admitting racially abusing Forest Green Rovers player Jordan Garrick earlier this year.

Ryan Ferguson, aged 23, pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates’ to racially abusing Mr Garrick during a match at the end of last season in April.

He also admitted failing to comply with a football banning order under the Football Spectators Act 1989 and obstructing a police constable in the execution of his duty.

The charges relate to an incident which took place during the 0-0 draw between Forest Green Rovers and Fleetwood Town at The New Lawn in Nailsworth on Tuesday, April 18.

The racially abusive language was heard by other Forest Green Rovers players and stewards. 

Ferguson, a Tranmere Rovers fan, of Barberry Crescent in Liverpool, was quickly detained by security and provided false information to police when he was arrested.

A check of the police national computer eventually revealed he was subject of a five-year football banning order imposed in 2019 for pitch invasion and was prohibited from attending any matches.

Stroud News and Journal: Ryan Ferguson, of Barberry Crescent in Liverpool, could face jail - picture from Merseyside PoliceRyan Ferguson, of Barberry Crescent in Liverpool, could face jail - picture from Merseyside Police (Image: Merseyside Police)

He is currently banned from coming within 500 metres of any designated football stadium in a period of up to four hours before kick-off, during the match and up to four hours afterwards.

Sandra Massiah, prosecuting, told the court Mr Garrick was left shaken at being on the receiving end of the abuse.

Giving evidence to police, Mr Garrick said: "I understand that there is always a crowd watching me and that fans will express their enjoyment or disappointment during a match. 

“But I should never be expected to be subjected to racial abuse whilst at work. 

"I find this grossly offensive. I was shocked about the language used against me.

"These are words that people should never hear."

Ms Massiah said Ferguson had “multiple convictions” for failing to comply with the football banning order and the Crown would be applying for a new one.

Neil Brooker, defending, said the defendant had attended the game with a ticket supplied by his cousin, who plays for Fleetwood Town.

“He tells me that in relation to why he attended the football match in the first instance, he thought he was allowed to as it was not the team he regularly supports, which is Tranmere Rovers,” Mr Brooker said.

"He accepts that is not the case.

“In relation to the racially aggravated offence, he can only apologise and regrets what he said, and is embarrassed by the words he used.

“He can only explain that he was frustrated by what he had seen on the pitch.”

Presiding Justice Andrew Hedges ordered pre-sentenced reports and adjourned the hearing until October 2.

Addressing the defendant, Mr Hedges said: “I will tell you at this stage custody is not ruled out, so when you appear again all options are on the table.”

Ferguson was released on conditional bail.