Apology ‘may not save pitch invasion fan from life ban’

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The Manchester City fan who ran on to the pitch and tried to confront Rio Ferdinand in Sunday’s derby match could be banned from the club for life – despite his apology.

Matthew Stott, 21, had to be restrained by City keeper Joe Hart and was arrested following Robin van Persie’s late winner at the Etihad Stadium.

Stott was subsequently charged with pitch encroachment and then issued an apology through his solicitors in which he said he was “extremely ashamed” of his actions.

But a City spokesman said yesterday: “His season card has been immediately removed for the rest of the season and he has been charged to appear at court. If he is found guilty he faces a lifetime ban.”

The trouble also saw Ferdinand injured by a coin which was thrown from the crowd during the goal celebrations, causing a gash above his left eye.

The perpetrator is still being hunted by police who are scouring the ground’s CCTV footage.

Speaking through his solicitors, Stephen Lickrish and Associates, Stott confessed his guilt – and said sorry to the Manchester United defender.

The landscape gardener, from Knutsford, said: “I would like to apologise to all those affected by my actions yesterday, particularly Mr Ferdinand and the other players.

“I am extremely ashamed of my actions. I have let myself down, my family down, my fellow fans down and Manchester City Football Club.

“I intend to write personally to Mr Ferdinand to express my extreme regret and apologies and also apologise to Manchester United and their fans.

“I would like to thank Joe Hart for his actions when I came on the pitch.

“I have been a fan of Manchester City Football Club all my life and I have been a season ticket holder for three years and I attend the games with my father.”

His solicitor, Rebecca Caulfield, said: “Mr Stott is a hard-working man who has held a full-time job as a landscape gardener for four years and lives with his partner of five years.

“He has never been to court before and has never been in trouble with any of the stewards at Manchester City Football Club before, or at any other ground.

“This was a momentary mistake by Mr Stott, which has led to him being charged, brought shame on his family, and will bring sanctions on the club that Mr Stott has supported all his life.”

Earlier Greater Manchester Police charged nine people, including Stott, following the trouble.