Norfolk

Footballer banned for life for Norfolk referee attack

Aaron Wick Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Goalkeeper Aaron Wick has attended hypnotherapy classes for anger issues

A goalkeeper who knocked out a referee during a game has pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

Aaron Wick, 36, from Horsford United FC hit Karl Smith during a Sunday league game at Feltwell FC in September.

Magistrates were told the referee's cheekbone was broken and repaired with a permanent metal plate.

Wick, of Staithe Street, Wells, Norfolk, has been banned from playing for life by the Football Association (FA).

The court at King's Lynn heard the attack followed earlier disputes over the referee's decisions.

Mr Smith told Norfolk County FA, in an independent report, matters came to a head when he awarded a penalty to Feltwell.

The referee was hit with such force he was "unable to remember all the events of the game".

Hypnotherapy

"I cannot remember what was said but I was making a note in my notebook to record the score, the next thing I remember is a policeman kneeling next to me asking if I was OK," he said.

At the time, his notebook had recorded a score of 3-0 against Horsford - who play in Division 3 of the Anglian Combination league - and two lines against Wick's name.

"All this was within the first 35 minutes of the game," Mr Smith added.

Fans prevented Wick from leaving the pitch and, when police arrived, he immediately admitted what he had done, the court heard.

Defending, Ruth Johnson said Wick had tried to make amends, including attending hypnotherapy for his aggression.

Wick's disciplinary record included 10 cautions and misconduct for physical contact against a match official in 2015.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

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