Football fans walk free after Tube brawl

Two groups of football fans walked free from court today despite admitting that they drunkenly brawled on the Tube.

The Manchester United and Millwall fans clashed on the train and platform at Euston Underground station in north London on November 8 2008 after attending separate matches.

But all four men in the dock walked free after prosecutors accepted pleas to the lesser offence of threatening behaviour, as opposed to affray.

Judge Peter Testar told Southwark Crown Court in London: "They may well have been guilty of actual violence which would have attracted the appropriate sentences.

"But I'm going to sentence them for the offences for which they have actually been convicted."

He said the men were in "football fan mode" when the violence broke out.

All were ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work, with one - Michele Carey, who kicked another man as he lay on the platform - also receiving a three-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Mark Gadsden, prosecuting, said five members of the Carey family, who were all Manchester United fans, were chanting football songs, swaying and swearing in loud voices on the train as it pulled into Euston Underground station.

Millwall fans Dean Maxwell and Dean West - who had been drinking since the previous evening - were about to get on the same train shortly after 7pm.

There was an altercation in the doorway, either because the Careys thought the two men were rival Arsenal fans or because the Careys mocked the others - and the two groups "erupted into violence", the court heard.

"A large fight broke out," Mr Gadsden said.

"Then the whole group piled on to the platform and the fighting continued."

The fight then broke up and some members of the Carey family returned to the train before they all "piled off the train again and the fighting continued".

"It must have been a very frightening incident as far as any ordinary members of the public who were travelling or on the platform must have been concerned," Mr Gadsden said.

Michele Carey, 24, and Kieran Carey, 26, of Third Avenue, Luton, denied affray but admitted the lesser offence of threatening behaviour along with West, 21, of Bicknor Road, Maidstone, Kent, and Maxwell, 25, of Oakridge Road, Downham, Bromley.

The court heard that West had previous convictions for being drunk at a sporting event in 2006, for criminal damage in 2008 and for a pitch invasion on February 22 this year. He was already the subject of a three-year football banning order.

Mr Gadsden told the court he would accept those pleas on the condition that the others in the dock - Stephen, 51, Liam, 20, and Ryan Carey, 29, all of Third Avenue, Luton - agreed to be bound over in the sum of £3,500 each to keep the peace and good behaviour for a period of 12 months.