Thu, 20 Oct 2011
An Aston Villa fan whose picture was beamed around the world and held up as the ugly face of football when he threw a flare on to the St Andrew’s pitch has spoken of his relief after being cleared.
Birmingham City fans invaded the pitch at full-time and during the violence flares were thrown into the stands and seats ripped up.
TV footage showed Mr Brisband, aged 44, hurl a flare on to the pitch.
But he claimed he only picked it up and threw it to get it away from fans because he was scared it would start a fire.
After a two-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the jury believed his version of events and cleared him of the charge.
Speaking after the case, Mr Brisband, aged 44, of Billingsley Road, Sheldon, said the months had been “horrendous” and he had been wrongly portrayed as a “mindless yob”.
“I’m so relieved the jury found me not guilty because I’ve had this hanging over me since December, I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything else,” he said.
“I’m unemployed but couldn’t look for another job because I didn’t know if I was going to be jail.”
Mr Brisband said he was horrified when a friend rang him the day after the football match and told him a photograph of him throwing the flare was on the front of the Birmingham Mail (....cont)