A FOOTBALL club boss insisted he did not organise the violence between rival fans as his barrister slammed the case against him as ‘stinking, rotten and dangerous.’
Andrew Swallow, 53, the owner of non-league Grays Athletic in Essex is said to have set up a clash between Millwall and West Ham fans on January 7 last year.
He did not take part in any of the violence near the Dagenham and Redbridge ground, who were playing Millwall in an FA Cup 3rd round match.
Swallow, a record company boss, who was with his teenage son Danny and other members of the Grays youth team, left the game early to go to the Eastbrook pub, which was the scene of a minor disturbance.
He said he walked out of the ground before the end of the game because he was intending to go to see his club play Cheshunt because the kick-off was later that afternoon.
‘It was always my intention to leave to see my team play against Cheshunt,’ said Swallow.
‘I went into the pub. Micky Woodward bought me a drink. Then after about five or ten minutes the commotion started.’
His barrister Michael Wolkind QC admitted that Swallow has previous convictions for football related violence when he was in his early twenties.
Swallow was fined £200 for using threatening or abusive words or behaviour.
He was also given a suspended sentence for causing actual bodily harm and has a conviction for causing criminal damage.
But Mr Wolkind said there was no evidence to prove Swallow had tried to orchestrate the violence in Dagenham.
‘He was not involved in any conspiracy to cause violence’
‘He is 53. He is entitled to go to that match. How extraordinary this prosecution case is.
Mr Wolkind told the jury: ‘It is stupid, ridiculous, dumb prosecution.’
‘None of you are stupid or dumb. You will see through it. It is stinking, it is rotten, it is dangerous.’
Swallow was texting during the match and prosecutors have suggested he was trying to call rival groups to the pub.
But Swallow claimed he was actually texting his results for a predictions league run by Grays Athletic.
Swallow won the first prize that year – a season ticket to his own club.
The court heard Swallow has worked with David Gray and has Disclosure, Miss Dynamite the Artful Dodger and Cockney Rejects on his label.
Swallow, of (Flat 602) Michigan House, Biscayne Avenue, Blackwall, east London, together with Shane Flexon, 26, of (75) College Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, Aidan Andrews, 41, of (73) Prospect House, St James Square, Bermondsey and Shaun Sheridan, 43, of (Flat 17) Stansfield House, Longfield Estate, Bermondsey, all deny conspiring to commit violent disorder.
The trial continues.