Football legend Derek Dooley's grandson in court over match clashes

THe GRANDSON of Sheffield footballing legend Derek Dooley was among a gang of Owls fans involved in violent clashes when the team was relegated last year, a court heard.

Derek Dooley – who shares the same name as his famous grandfather – was caught on police cameras raising a large stone above his head and smashing it onto tram tracks near Sheffield Wednesday stadium in Hillsborough.

Sheffield Magistrates' Court heard another Owls fan then picked up half of the stone and launched it at police, who were trying to keep a group of up to 150 fans under control.

Dooley, of Meadowhead Road, Meadowhead, earlier took part in a pitch invasion in which the two rival groups of supporters clashed.

The court saw CCTV footage of him holding the rock, his face partially covered with the scarf.

Dooley, who has pleaded not guilty to a section four public order charge, said smashing the rock was a "wrong decision" and a "stupid mistake", but he had no intention of throwing it.

Nigel Duckworth, prosecuting, said fighting broke out on the pitch between rival fans after Sheffield Wednesday were relegated to League One.

He said: "Mr Dooley wasn't involved in the fighting itself but he voluntarily went onto the pitch."

Mr Duckworth also said cameras then caught Dooley at around 3.30pm on Middlewood Road, near the football ground.

"The defendant has masked his face", he said.

"He picks up a rock and holds it for a short time, then throws that rock onto the tram tracks.

"It breaks and somebody else comes along, picks up part of the rock and throws at the police."

Mr Duckworth said a "large piece" of stone was spotted landing around a foot away from a police dog shortly afterwards.

Dooley, who has no previous convictions, admitted in police interview that he had gone onto the pitch and said he had been drinking before the football match.

The 22-year-old, who hopes to go into football coaching, said he had been "devastated" about the relegation.

However, he said he "would not have had any thought" of throwing the rock or causing damage.

The trial was adjourned until next Monday.

Dooley's grandfather died in 2008 and part of Sheffield's ring road has since been named Derek Dooley Way in his honour.

He was a star striker for Sheffield Wednesday in the early 1950s, before his career was brought to a premature end following a collision on the field that led to his leg being amputated. He then went on to manage the club, before later becoming chairman of bitter rivals Sheffield United.

In 2003 Dooley senior was awarded an MBE and an honorary doctorate degree from Sheffield Hallam University.