Footballer barred from pubs and nightclubs

A LEADING local footballer has been banned from drinking in every pub and licensed premises in Suffolk and Norfolk after he was arrested following a fight outside a Lowestoft nightspot.

Alastair McKenna was given the ban by town magistrates on Tuesday after he admitted becoming involved in a brawl with former rugby star Joshua Goldspink outside Notley's in Royal Thoroughfare.

McKenna, a former Lowestoft Town striker who plays for Kirkley and Pakefield, is now able to continue his football career after he avoided getting a night-time curfew when he was sentenced for causing harassment, alarm and distress by using threatening words and behaviour.

Judge David Cooper had earlier been told that if the 25-year-old Rigeons Premier Division player was banned from going out at night, he would not be able to train with Kirkley in the evening and travel to away games.

However, Goldspink, a former Leicester Tigers and North Walsham rugby player, was given a night-time curfew.

He was also banned from nightclubs in both counties after admitting the same offence as McKenna.

Lowestoft magistrates heard that McKenna, of Strowgers Way, Kessingland, and Goldspink, 20, of Lyndhurst Road, Lowestoft, came to blows outside Notleys on December 10 after the footballer claimed he had been headbutted by the rugby player.

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Colette Griffiths, prosecuting, said that once outside the club, the pair began fighting. 'They were both seen by CCTV throwing punches...Whoever came off worse I can not tell you,' she said.

McKenna, who told the court he plays football for a living, said: 'He (Goldspink) headbutted me, broke my nose. It just spiralled outside onto the street.'

After hearing how a curfew starting at 11pm would get in the way of his training and going to away matches, Judge Cooper sentenced him to a year-long pub and nightclub ban.

McKenna, who had been made to go on aggression replacement therapy because of a previous conviction, was also made to pay �85 costs.

Sentencing him, Judge Cooper told him: 'If you play football you must be a useful sort of person. I do not want to interfere with that. It sounds a sensible activity.'

When told McKenna was a striker, Judge Cooper added: 'They used to be centre forwards in my day.'

In April 2008, McKenna was spared a prison sentence after he admitted a charge of affray.

Because of the sentence was suspended, he was able to play for Lowestoft Town in the FA Vase final against Kirkham Wesham.

Despite his record, McKenna told the court: 'I never cause trouble when I go out.'

Like McKenna, Goldspink also had previous convictions including one for shoplifting last year.

Goldspink was a prop forward who played for North Walsham, and was in the Leicester Tigers squad until a serious injury saw his contract cancelled. The court heard that he was now on Job Seekers Allowance and trained twice a week at nights, playing rugby on Saturdays.

When told a curfew might affect him as well, Judge Cooper said: 'He is like the other chap, isn't he?'

Goldspink, who represented himself and gave no mitigation, was given a four-month curfew order that bans him from going out from 11am to 6pm seven days a week. He he was also banned from all Suffolk and Norfolk nightclubs for a year.