Football - Drunk Irishmen jailed for racially abusing Andrew Cole

Two Irishmen have been jailed for racially abusing former Manchester United star Andrew Cole.

Football - Drunk Irishmen jailed for racially abusing Andrew Cole

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FOOTBALL Former England and Manchester United striker Andy Cole

Dubliners Gregory Horan, 26, and Lee Byrne, 28, were sentenced in Manchester after drunken behaviour during an Aer Arran flight from Dublin to Manchester last December.

Byrne has been handed a 20-week sentence and Horan a ten-week sentence, after they subjected Cole to slurs such as "Mr Blackman" and "spook."

Both men were drunk by the time they boarded the plane despite the flight only taking off at 09:30am.

Before take-off they were asked if they wished to disembark the plane but refused.

They smuggled a bottle of rum onto the flight and were abusive to staff when asked to hand it over.

The court also heard how they "hassled" and kicked the chairs of two female passengers.

A statement from Cole was read out in court which said: "I’ve been the victim of racism before and will not tolerate this abuse in any capacity.

"I am worried if nothing happens or changes the next generation of young people, including my own children, will suffer the same discrimination and that is unacceptable to me."

Cole, now 42, is the second highest goalscorer in Premier League history after Alan Shearer.

As well as playing for United, he enjoyed successful spells at Newcastle, Blackburn, Fulham and Manchester City amongst others.

He won 15 caps for England and is currently a coach with Huddersfield Town.

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