A footballer must do 120 hours unpaid work after punching an Ilkeston linesman at the end of an amateur match.
A court heard bare-chested Kyle McCormick, 27, followed the official towards the changing rooms and told him: “I’m going to bury you.”
With his number four shirt in one hand, McCormick struck the linesman once on the jaw on September 1 last year.
Victim David Hardy ‘felt immediate pain’, which got much worse when he tried to eat a meal, said Christopher Gabbitas, prosecuting at Derby Crown Court.
He went to Ilkeston Community Hospital and was later admitted to the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham. An x-ray showed a ‘large displaced fracture of the right jaw’.
Two metal plates had to be inserted in the jaw but the fracture had healed properly ‘although there was an inevitable period of discomfort’.
When questioned, McCormick said he had been the target of abuse while playing for Derby Madrid against Ilkeston side Gallows Inn.
Mr Hardy usually played for the Ilkeston side but had been banned and so was acting as linesman, the court heard.
Mr Gabbitas said McCormick was annoyed. He said: “There had been very derogatory comments and he approached the complainant.
“He accepts he was annoyed with Mr Hardy and that he approached him, claimed that he had been attacked and tried to get Mr Hardy off him.”
A 32-week prison term, suspended for two years, was imposed on McCormick of Mayfield Road, Chaddesden. He admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and was put on probation for 18 months.
Recorder Nicholas Syfret QC said tempers were clearly aroused at the match.
He told McCormick: “Public football matches are times when people must be expected to maintain self-control.
“If they don’t, the aftermath of fighting in public is known to many and deeply distressing to those who encounter it.”
Justin Ablott, mitigating, said it was “a chance meeting” which took place while McCormick was taking down the nets.
“Mr McCormick unwisely took the opportunity to make his feelings known, an extremely poor decision for which he will have to pay inevitably a price today,” said Mr Ablott.
After being unemployed for ‘a fairly significant period’, he found a job and had been in work for five months.
McCormick looked after his daughter and Mr Ablott added: “If he loses his liberty, his employment would be lost and would make the search for employment all the more difficult.”