UPDATED: Knutsford man admits he let himself down after confronting Rio Ferdinand (From Knutsford Guardian)
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Pitch invader Matthew Stott apologises to Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand after trying to confront him
A KNUTSFORD man who tried to confront a Manchester United player at the end of the weekend’s derby game has admitted he is ‘ashamed’ of his actions.
Matthew Stott, 21, of Southfields, attempted to confront Reds defender Rio Ferdinand on the pitch but had to be restrained by Manchester City keeper Joe Hart in a match viewed by millions worldwide.
The incident came in the aftermath of Robin van Persie’s late winner at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Stott, who works as a landscape gardener in the town, was arrested and charged and will appear at Manchester City Magistrates’ Court on Friday, January 4. But in a statement issued through his solicitors, Stott apologised to Ferdinand and confessed his guilt.
“I would like to apologise to all those affected by my actions, particularly Mr Ferdinand and the other players,” he said.
“I am extremely ashamed by my actions. I have let myself down, my family down, my fellow fans down and Manchester City Football Club.
“I intend to write personally to Mr Ferdinand to express my extreme regret and apologies and also apologise to Manchester United and their fans.
“I would like to thank Joe Hart for his actions when I came on the pitch.
“I have been a fan of Manchester City Football Club all my life and I have been a season ticket-holder for three years and I attend games with my father. I have had the same seat in the section next to the away fans for those three years.”
Stott, who went to Knutsford HighSchool, had a Facebook page but it was deleted on Monday evening after rival fans began to post it on online forums and social media sites.
Before it was deleted, his friends had commented on the incident with Adam Heard posting: “Mate what were you thinking lad...mad ed! (sic)”, while Adam Leetch simply added: “What a leg-end”.
On Monday, Manchester City confirmed it had taken away the season ticket owned by Stott.
MATTHEW Stott’s solicitor has said her client was ‘extremely remorseful’ after the incident.
Rebecca Caulfield, solicitor at Stephen Lickrish and Associates, said his behaviour was completely out of character.
She said: “Mr Stott is a hard-working man who has held a full-time job as a landscape gardener for four years and lives with his partner of five years.
“He has never been to court before and has never been in trouble with any of the stewards at Manchester City Football Club before or at any other ground.
“He is extremely remorseful and is mortified by his behaviour which is completely out of character.
“This was a momentary mistake by Mr Stott which has led to him being charged, brought shame on his family and will bring sanctions on the club that Mr Stott has supported all his life.
“Mr Stott will accept the consequences of his actions.
“He would like to make clear that he is not a stereotypical drunken football fan but a fan who attends games with his father.
“He is embarrassed and ashamed of his temporary moment of madness that has brought wider consequences on the club he supports and his fellow fans.”