Man pleads guilty after wearing ’97 not enough’ shirt at FA Cup Final
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A man has pleaded guilty to displaying threatening or abusive writing likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress after he was seen wearing a shirt referencing the Hillsborough disaster at the FA Cup final.
James White, 33, of Warwickshire, appeared at Willesden Magistrates' Court today (Monday 19 June) where he pleaded guilty to the charge.
White was charged earlier this month, with The Metropolitan Police Events Twitter account sharing a photo of a man wearing a Manchester United shirt with the number 97 on the back and the words ‘Not Enough’ - a reference to the Hillsborough disaster, in which 97 football fans died.
The horrific incident happened during a match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989.
They were unlawfully killed amid a number of police errors, an inquest jury ruled in 2016.
White's actions were condemned by the Football Association with the organisation saying it would not ‘tolerate abuse relating to Hillsborough or any football tragedy’.
In a statement, the FA said: “The FA strongly condemns the actions of the individual who wore a shirt referencing the Hillsborough disaster ahead of the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
“We saw a photograph of the offensive shirt on social media and immediately started working to identify the perpetrator.
“Our security team were able to quickly locate the individual based on the image, and we welcome the swift action which was then taken by the police.
“We will not tolerate abuse relating to Hillsborough or any football tragedy at Wembley Stadium and we will continue to work with the authorities to ensure strong action is taken against perpetrators.”
White was also condemned by the The Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance (HSA).
In a statement on social media earlier this month, HSA said: "On Saturday 3rd June 2023, the first ever all Manchester cup final took place at Wembley between Manchester City and Manchester United.
"It was the opportunity for Manchester as a city to show itself in its best light but unfortunately this was marred by a so-called Manchester United fan wearing an away shirt that mocked the deaths of the 97 unlawfully killed at Hillsborough, the families and the survivors of the tragedy that took place on April 15th 1989."
It went on to call the man's behaviour 'despicable' before thanking the FA, Metropolitan police and security staff at Wembley for their 'swift action and arrest' of the man.
They added that the shirt sent an 'abhorrent message targeting family members and survivors of the Hillsborough disaster back in 1989'.
"Let's hope the justice system can be as swift with the appropriate punishment for this act of hatred," the HSA concluded.