A Liverpool supporter has been handed a four-year football ban after making a racist gesture towards Patrice Evra at Anfield in January.
TV footage during an FA Cup clash between the sides captured Phillip Gannon, a father of five who hails from Barmouth, Wales, impersonating a monkey in the direction of the Manchester United left-back, who had been at the centre of the racism controversy that saw Luis Suarez banned for eight matches in late 2011.
Images and footage of the former carpenter circulated on social networking website Twitter and complaints regarding his actions were made to the police.
Gannon claimed he was impersonating a Neanderthal and pleaded not guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence and using threatening or anti-social behaviour causing harassment, alarm or distress.
However, after a two-day trial at Liverpool Magistrates Court, he was convicted of the offence, with prosecutor Rob Girvan saying: “This gesture was caught on camera and it was seen globally not just nationally.
“There was a volatile and tense atmosphere at the game because of a player on the pitch who said he was a victim of racial abuse.
“The defendant saying he was impersonating a Neanderthal is just a childish excuse to cover up what he did.
“It was clearly a racist gesture.”
Gannon cannot attend Liverpool and England matches for a four-year period, while the ban also means he cannot be in the Liverpool city centre four hours before and after a match.
He was also fined a total of 180 pounds and ordered to pay prosecution costs of 300 pounds.
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