A man has been jailed for 24 weeks for assaulting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp at Tuesday’s Championship play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Forest season ticket holder Robert Biggs, from Ilkeston, Derbyshire, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm which left Sharp requiring four stitches to a wound to his lip.
He was jailed at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Thursday. Biggs appeared in court in custody and did not oppose an application for a football banning order during the hearing.
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He was told that a separate charge of illegally entering the playing surface had been dropped.
District Judge Grace Leong had been urged to pass a suspended sentence on Biggs, who claimed he and his girlfriend would not be able to keep up monthly mortgage repayments if he was jailed.
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Passing sentence, District Judge Grace Leong told the electrical engineer: “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. The forceful impact resulted in a very unpleasant injury to Mr Sharp. You must have seen him fall over but you did not stop to check if he was
alright or whether he was seriously injured.
“This is so serious that a custodial sentence must be imposed.”
She added: “You headbutted Mr Sharp, who was looking elsewhere at the time and could not have taken any avoiding action. His lip had to be stitched afterwards and that is not a minor injury.”
Biggs, of Church View, Ilkeston, was ordered to pay Sharp £500 in compensation, as well as £85 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge.
Sheffield United overturned a two-goal deficit on Tuesday to level the tie at 3-3 on aggregate and force extra-time and penalties, but their spirited fightback was extinguished in the shootout when goalkeeper Brice Samba saved three spot-kicks to send Forest to Wembley.