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A Nottingham Forest season-ticket holder has been jailed for almost six months for headbutting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp during the pitch invasion that marred the sides’ Championship play-off semi-final.
Robert Biggs, 30, was sentenced to 24 weeks imprisonment and given a 10-year Football Banning Order after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Nottingham Magistrates' Court.
Biggs, of Church View, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, was also ordered to pay £500 compensation to Sharp – who was knocked to the ground and required four stitches to his lip – £85 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge.
The attack was caught on camera following Tuesday night’s chaotic climax to the second leg of the play-off semi-final at The City Ground, which saw Forest progress on penalties.
In sentencing, District Judge Grace Leong said: “The video clip proves to me that you were running towards Billy Sharp and that you dodged all the other spectators to get towards him.
“I am of the view that it was a targeted act of aggression... even if it was not premeditated. You must have seen him fall over but you did not stop to check if he was alright or whether he was seriously injured.”
Forest fan headbutts Sheffield United’s billy sharp pic.twitter.com/vQ98GP4YNu
— Football Fights (@footbalIfights) May 17, 2022
Biggs, whose solicitor told the court had drunk “a quantity of alcohol” at a pub before the match and had “collided” with ex-Forest striker Sharp rather than targeting him, claimed he and his girlfriend would not be able to keep up monthly mortgage repayments if he was jailed.
But the judge said: “Given the gravity of this offence, where thousands were present to witness it, there has to be an element of deterrence.”
Forest had already promised to ban Sharp's attacker for life.
Nottinghamshire Police, meanwhile, are still investigating a video clip showing Sharp’s team-mate, Oli McBurnie, appearing to stamp on a supporter during the same pitch invasion.
McBurnie posted on Twitter on Wednesday night in support of a message indicating he had simply been attempting to “step over” the fan.