Drunk Wolves fan racially abused Rio Ferdinand, calling him a ‘shit monkey’

Rio Ferdinand has arrived in court to testify against 31-year-old Jamie Arnold in the trial

A football fan racially abused former England star Rio Ferdinand by calling him a “shit monkey” before chanting John Terry’s name during a match, a court heard.

Jamie Arnold, 32, is accused of hurling racist abuse and making monkey gestures at the former defender while working as a pundit for BT Sports.

Jurors were told the drunken Wolverhampton Wanderers supporter targeted Rio after he celebrated a Manchester United goal when the two sides met on May 23 last year.

He was arrested during the match and charged with racially motivated harassment, alarm or distress.

Today Arnold, of Norton Bridge, Staffs., went on trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court where he denies the charge.

CCTV footage played on the court showed Arnold appearing to mimic a monkey by placing his hands under his armpits and jumping.

He then shouted “Rio you fu****** monkey” before continuing to sing: “One John Terry, there’s only one John Terry,” it is claimed.

The court heard that Arnold also hurled a barrage of homophobic abuse at referee Mike Dean, calling him a “fucking gay boy”.

Rio Ferdinand has arrived in court to testify against 31-year-old Jamie Arnold in the trial

Arnold, 31, says he didn't make monkey gestures and shout racial slurs at Ferdinand

Arnold, 31, says he didn’t make monkey gestures and shout racial slurs at Ferdinand

Prosecutor Jason Arris said the long-awaited match was the first time Molineux had hosted fans in more than a year following a lockdown due to the Covid pandemic.

Opening the case, he said: “When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country in March 2020, each and every one of us was affected in some way.

“One of the unfortunate consequences of the pandemic is that it affected particular industries such as the entertainment industry. Likewise, sporting events ended.

“The Premier League suspended matches in March 2020. You may be aware that the season was allowed to continue later that year.

“Consequently, the matches were played behind closed doors.

“Sunday 23 May 2021 should have been a joyous day for Wolverhampton football fans as they welcomed supporters to the club.

“They weren’t accepting away fans, they were accepting local fans. People who had season tickets.

“I’m sure the game was highly anticipated by football fans who hadn’t been able to attend a game for over 15 months.

Heading into court, Arnold grabs the top of his hair as he heads for the start of the trial.

Heading into court, Arnold grabs the top of his hair as he heads for the start of the trial.

Ferdinand, who looked smart in designer clothes and trainers, will give evidence at the trial

Ferdinand, who looked smart in designer clothes and trainers, will give evidence at the trial

“The game was due to be broadcast live on BT Sports and ex-Premier League player turned football pundit Rio Ferdinand was in the stadium ready to commentate on the game and was there to analyze the game.

“Before kick-off, Mr. Ferdinand was in the portico stadium.

“In one of the stands called the Billy Wright Stand and below him were numerous Wolves supporters who engaged in harmless banter with him.

“I’m sure we’re all aware that when it comes to sports there’s always some banter between various teammates and fans.

“Apparently during the first half of the match, the supporters were making harmless jokes with Mr Ferdinand. He is of course a Manchester United supporter.

“Wolverhampton Wanderers fans really enjoyed giving Mr Ferdinand some stick when they were beating Manchester United, teasing him.

“Mr Ferdinand laughed at this behaviour. In fact, when Manchester United scored a very early goal in that game, he had the pleasure of celebrating that goal.

“This was a time of joy and celebration as people once again saw what is colloquially known as the beautiful game.

“Unfortunately, things got a little bit worse during the course of the match, made worse by virtue of the fact that this defendant, Mr. Jamie Arnold, was in attendance.”

The court said Arnold had “not been there to behave” or “watch the football and enjoy the day” and soon became abusive towards Rio during the first half.

Arris added: “Mr Ferdinand was aware of a group of supporters who were shouting at him quite enthusiastically.

“Mr Ferdinand noticed that this defendant was focusing all his attention on him, making hand gestures, jumping up and down and misbehaving.

“Mr. Ferdinand, like the professional he is, chose to ignore this behavior.

“The defendant was pointing in the direction of the Billy Wright Stand where Mr Ferdinand was.

“This defendant put his hands under his armpits and started jumping where he was clearly trying to imitate and imitate a monkey.

“It was clearly intended to be racist.

“People who were at the party heard this defendant yelling ‘Rio, you fuckin’ monkey.’

“The supporters who witnessed this were appalled, they were disgusted by the defendant’s behaviour. He insisted, shouting: ‘One John Terry, there is only one John Terry.’

“This defendant had been particularly nasty, only about five minutes into kick-off the defendant hurled homophobic abuse at referee Mike Dean.

“He yelled ‘tu fotu noi gay'” towards the referee.

‘The fans were uncomfortable with what they were hearing. He was definitely under the influence of alcohol, he was slurring his words and he was awkward on his feet.

“On being warned, he said: ‘I knew the moment I had done it, I had been a stupid ***.’

“He will say that he was not drunk on that occasion and denies that he shouted ‘Rio, you are a monkey’.”

The trial continues.

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