Paper review: Fan banned from football pitches and 'banana-gate'

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News LetterImage source, News Letter

The Irish News leads with the Celtic fan from County Armagh who has been banned from every football ground in Britain.

John Hatton, 21, from Portadown is pictured on the front page being frog marched from the pitch by a small army of five security men in high-vis jackets.

The paper reports that Hatton appeared before a court in Glasgow after he jumped railings, ran on to the pitch and tried to kick a £160m Paris Saint Germain forward at Tuesday night's Champions League clash.

The focus of his ire was the £160m-rated French forward Kylian Mbappe.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
John Hatton was led away by stewards after the incident in the 40th minute of the game

The paper says Hatton is reported to have wept in the dock and was granted bail. However, court Sheriff Sukwinder Gill put him well and truly off the pitch.

On the paper's opinion page, Allison Morris examines how the Women's Coalition (NIWC) helped change politics in Northern Ireland.

"Of its time and served a purpose" was how the NIWC was summed up in the BBC documentary Peacemakers: Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs, she writes.

"I was in my mid-20s with three small children when the Women's Coalition was formed. At the time, I would never have dreamed of joining or even voting for them, they seemed a middle class construct, a world away from my reality."

But Morris salutes the women's lasting influence at a time when Northern Ireland was "a volatile and violent place".

Image caption,
Heady days for the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition

"They did what women do in conflict situations the world over, be it Belfast or Baghdad, they brought compassion and practicality to the proceedings."

In those days, the male politicians often "jeered and mooed at the women when they got to their feet to speak". Now, the same party has "the formidable Arlene Foster" as leader and Sinn Féin is also led by a woman at Stormont.

How things have changed, she notes - no longer the novelty or the tea makers, women are now making key political decisions and, she writes, the NIWC is, in part, to thank for that.

That story of the Portadown Celtic fan's pitch invasion also makes the front page in the Mirror.

"Banned from every UK stadium" roars the headline, with a picture of John Hatton - head bowed, wearing a big green hooded coat to hide his face.

"Ulster footie fan's Celtic kick shame," reads a second headline.

The paper says that Hatton's lawyer told the court: "He had consumed a lot of alcohol and can only remember parts of the day."

Inside, the Mirror reports on the vandalism at Christ Church, Londonderry where a £250,000 organ was wrecked.

Image source, Christ Church
Image caption,
A stained glass window was smashed in the attack

"Holy Terrors," is the paper's rather predictable headline.

The paper calls those behind the attack "thugs" and says parishioners will be "traumatised" by this "wanton vandalism".

Under a red exclusive tag, the Belfast Telegraph reports that police in Northern Ireland have been urged by Amnesty International to check their records to establish if any claims were made against a US politician at the centre of a historical child sex abuse scandal.

Seattle mayor Ed Murray has stepped down from his post following allegations of sexual abuse against teenage boys

The Telegraph reports that he had worked with children in Northern Ireland in a Belfast peace project during the Troubles in the 1970s.

Mr Murray strongly denies all the allegations made against him. He said he was stepping down because he did not want personal issues interfering with public business, the Telegraph says.

The Telegraph also features a front-page photograph of Fionuala Campbell at the funeral of her daughter, Sherry, who died suddenly after choking. Her body was found in the kitchen of her family home by her father last week.

Mourners at the Bangor funeral for the 29-year-old teaching assistant were told that she was "so beautiful inside and out".

The paper says the Campbell family intends to create a charitable foundation in Sherry's name to raise awareness of how to cope with choking when alone.

Image caption,
Grand Master of the Orange Order Edward Stevenson on parade at Rossnowlagh in July

The News Letter features a photograph of the Grand Master of the Orange Order, Edward Stevenson under the headline: "Grand master says no to Irish language act."

The paper reports that Edward Stevenson says he has "no quarrel with those who enjoy the Irish language and wish to use it".

"We have never sought to deny anyone the right to enjoy these traditions," he says.

However, he adds: "when language is used as a cultural weapon by political republicanism, it clearly becomes a threat to our identity and community."

He accuses Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams of "plans to break our community using the Trojan horse of equality".


Finally, the story of an unusual court case clearly tickled the News Letter's sub editors.

"Call the peelers! Boy was charged over 'dangerous banana'" reads the headline.

The paper reports that the boy had been charged with "causing a dangerous article to be on a road" - namely a banana and a kiwi.

The case involved the fruit and a road in the Glens estate, Limavady, last April. The charge was withdrawn.