Cambridgeshire

Simon Dobbin attack: Cambridge and Southend fans unite

Simon Dobbin and his wife Nicole pitchside at the Cambridge United and Southend United match.
Image caption Simon Dobbin is unable to walk or talk following his attack

A Cambridge United supporter who suffered brain damage in a post-match attack by Southend United supporters has been cheered by fans of both clubs.

Simon Dobbin, 44, and his family joined players on the pitch ahead of a friendly at the Cambs Glass Stadium.

It is the first time the two sides have played each other since March 2015 when Mr Dobbin was injured.

Twelve people were jailed for the attack, and a 13th man will be sentenced next month.

Proceeds from Saturday's match will go to the Dobbin family.

Mr Dobbin's wife Nicole Dobbin had special "half and half" football shirts made for the occasion which feature elements of both Cambridge United and Southend's kits.

The message on the back reads "United we stand against football violence".

Image caption Both sets of fans cheered as Mr Dobbin and his family joined players on the pitch

Mrs Dobbin, from Mildenhall in Suffolk, said: "I want both sets of fans to stand united together.

"Some fans weren't happy that Cambridge were playing Southend so I came up with the idea to make these shirts to let people know we support both sets of fans."

Mrs Dobbin also called for violent attackers to serve tougher sentences, after the men convicted in her husband's case were jailed for between 16 months and five years.

"I understand the maximum sentence for violent disorder is five years, but they will serve two-and-a-half years," she said.

"We've already done that - we've got a life sentence."

The football match money will be used to provide her husband with experimental oxygen therapy and to buy special equipment for their home.

Image caption Mr Dobbin is a devoted Cambridge United fan

Cambridge United chairman Dave Doggett said: "Our thoughts are with Nicole, Simon and the family because it's been a traumatic few weeks with the court case and now we want to help them move on.

"Since day one we've tried to support the family - we just want to try and make their home more comfortable and to make Simon's life more enjoyable."

Image caption Special football shirts were made for the game featuring elements of both Cambridge and Southend kits

Cambridge United chief executive Jez George said: "We are all aware of the tragic assault that has led to Simon's life-changing injuries, and this match provides Cambridge United and Southend United with the opportunity to show both clubs' support.

"Simon's wife, Nicole, is a truly remarkable woman who has shown astonishing resolve in her care for Simon in unimaginable circumstances."

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