Cocaine-fueled football fan who knocked rival unconscious with headbutt avoids jail

WARNING – VIOLENT CONTENT: A shocking video showed ‘disgraceful’ Portsmouth FC fan Mason Preston launching the unprovoked attack on Southampton fan Sasha Brown

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Portsmouth FC fan headbutts Southampton fan at train station in February

A cocaine-fueled football thug who knocked a rival fan unconscious by headbutting him at a train station has avoided jail.

Shocking video footage showed ‘disgraceful’ Portsmouth FC fan Mason Preston launching the unprovoked attack on Southampton fan Sasha Brown.

Moments before the nasty assault the Southampton fan had beer hurled at him as he was surrounded by a large group of around 40 Portsmouth supporters chanting ‘scummers’ at him and two friends.

The headbutt at Basingstoke train station, Hants, on the evening of February 5 knocked Mr Brown unconscious and left him with a black eye and a bleeding head, a court heard.

Preston, 21, was today handed a 14-month sentence suspended for 24 months at Portsmouth Crown Court, Hants, after admitting common assault.

The Saints fan surrounded by Pompey Fans


Portsmouth News/Solent News)

Sentencing him, Recorder Simon Levene told the court: “This was a disgraceful and completely unprovoked act of mob violence.”

He also banned the roofer from attending football matches for five years, handed him a six-month electronic curfew and ordered him to pay £3,000 in compensation.

Preston, of Havant, near Portsmouth was at the station at 8pm with other Portsmouth supporters, following a 3-2 defeat to Oxford United.

The Southampton fan was headbutted in the incident


Portsmouth News/Solent News)

The group began chanting ‘scummers’ at three Saints fans before throwing beer at them.

Prosecuting, Edward Hollingsworth explained: “The victim remembers a large group calling him a scummer.

“The next thing he was aware of was being surrounded by the group and feeling very threatened.

“The last thing he remembered was lots of people around him being very aggressive.”

The Saints fan lying on the floor after the attack


Portsmouth News/Solent News)

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Brown, of Southampton, said he was ‘grateful’ his injuries were not more serious.

He said: “It has affected my partner more than me and she now feels anxious to be around groups of young men.

“I’m grateful it wasn’t a more serious injury and grateful to the police for making me feel comfortable throughout the process.”

Howard Barrington-Clark, defending Preston, said the Pompey fan had shown ‘genuine remorse’ for the incident.

A probation officer at a previous hearing told the court his actions were due to a mix of ‘cocaine… alcohol’ and the ‘tribalism of football’.

Mason Preston at Portsmouth Magistrates Court


Hampshire Chronicle/Solent News)

The probation officer said: “Mr Preston tells me he and his friends were drinking a lot of alcohol.

“He tells me he was also taking cocaine that weekend. It’s a mixture of emotion associated with football and the tribalism of football, alcohol and cocaine use and a large group of his friends which contributed to his behaviour.

“Mr Preston tells me he was feeling pretty emotional as he had broken up with his girlfriend a few days earlier.”

She added Preston ‘feels awful’ and ‘would like to say sorry’ to Brown, before adding: “Mr Preston describes his behavior as very stupid.”

Portsmouth and Southampton have a fierce footballing rivalry and the match between the two teams is commonly known as the South Coast Derby.

How the rivalry between the neighboring southern cities began is unclear, though it is often linked to strike action by workers in the port cities leading to the derogatory nickname of ‘scummer’ being used to taunt those from Southampton.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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