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Man, 33, pleads guilty over offensive Hillsborough T-Shirt

James White, a 33-year-old man from Warwickshire, has pleaded guilty to wearing an offensive Manchester United football shirt at Wembley Stadium.

The shirt displayed a reference to the tragic Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 97 football fans in 1989.

The judge at Willesden Magistrates’ Court condemned the act as abhorrent, emphasizing the distress and offence caused by such a hateful expression.

On 3 June, during the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, James White wore a Manchester United shirt bearing the number 97 on the back, accompanied by the words “Not Enough.” The shirt’s insensitive message directly referred to the tragic Hillsborough disaster, a painful chapter in football history where 97 individuals lost their lives due to a crush during a match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989.

At Willesden Magistrates’ Court, White pleaded guilty to the charge of displaying threatening or abusive writing likely to cause harassment, alarm, or distress.

District Judge Mark Jabbitt did not mince his words, describing the reference as “hard to imagine a more offensive reference to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.” The judge further condemned the shirt as an abhorrent message and acknowledged the profound and distressing impact it had on those affected by the tragedy.

The Hillsborough disaster remains etched in the collective memory of football fans worldwide. The tragedy unfolded when overcrowding led to a crush in the stands, causing the deaths of 97 innocent individuals and leaving countless others physically and emotionally scarred.

Diane Lynn, vice chair of Hillsborough Survivor Supporters Alliance, said it was “very personal” for people who were at Hillsborough that day and that survivors suffered with “guilt”.

“How dare he make us feel like this,” she said.

The defence told the court White “deeply regrets” his actions and accepted he “hurt people very deeply”.

White, who laughed in the dock, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a surcharge of £400 and £85 in costs.

He has also been banned from all regulated football games in the UK for four years, while Manchester United said it had issued an indefinite club ban to White.

The event resulted in a long-lasting trauma for the victims’ families, survivors, and the wider football community.