West Bromwich Albion fan banned for racist gestures towards a Birmingham City fan

Baggies fan Neil Grainger made offensive gestures during West Brom’s win against Blues on October 15 last year

A racist football yob who made vile monkey gestures towards a rival fan has been banned from attending any games in the UK for three years.

Neil Grainger, 36, was spotted making offensive hand movements during a Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City.

Sign up to our BirminghamWorld Today newsletter

Baggies fan Grainger made the offensive gesture while sitting in the home stand during the team’s 1-0 win over their Midlands rivals on October 15 last year.

Another fan saw what Grainger was doing and reported him to a police officer who arrested him.

Grainger, of Cheslyn Hay, Staffordshire, was convicted of a racially aggravated public order offence after a trial at Dudley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (March 30).

He received a three-year football banning order, forbidding him from attending any match across the UK until March 2025.

He was also slapped with a fine and court costs totalling almost £1,500.

Neil Grainger

What have West Midlands Police said about the hate crime?

PC Stuart Ward, West Midlands Police football hate crime officer, said: "These were appalling and very offensive actions which have no place within football or society in general.

"The supporter who witnessed this did exactly the right thing in reporting it, as it helped us secure a criminal conviction against Grainger.

"The supporter told us they felt disgusted and ashamed anyone could do this at a match, and it’s a view I’m sure proper football fans will share.

"This conviction not only tarnishes Grainger’s reputation but can impact on employment and travel in future.

“He’s also lost a hobby in not being able to attend football games.

"It was clear during the pandemic how much football fans missed being at a live game with friends or family.

“Now through his own highly offensive actions he must miss out again for another three years."

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.