Dooley grandson is guilty in fan trouble

Derek Dooley arrives at Sheffield magistrates Court
Derek Dooley arrives at Sheffield magistrates Court

THE grandson of Sheffield football legend Derek Dooley has been convicted of threatening behaviour, after he joined a group of rioting Owls fans when Wednesday were relegated on the final day of last season.

Sheffield magistrates ruled that 22-year-old Dooley, named Derek after the man who scored 63 goals for Wednesday, made members of the public fear for their safety during a face-off with police on May 2 last year.

He denied threatening behaviour but was found guilty after a trial.

Unemployed Dooley - who plays for non-league Sheffield FC’s reserve side - was ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work and pay £775 towards court costs.

But he was spared a football banning order after magistrates were handed a sheaf of glowing references - including one from the current Sheffield United chairman, a role his grandfather held until 1996.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard Dooley, of Meadowhead Road, Meadowhead, invaded the pitch with 150 other Wednesday fans after his team’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

He was not involved in a mass brawl which developed between rival fans on the pitch - and voluntarily left the field when ordered to do so by a steward.

But, later that afternoon, a police helicopter filmed Dooley on Middlewood Road with a large group of youths involved in a stand-off with police officers.

Roger Whitehouse, chairman of the bench, said: “The camera showed you at one stage on the front row, mouthing at the police. You were clearly indentified picking up a rock and smashing it onto the tram track. A member of the group, another fan, picked up the broken stone and threw it at the police.

“We find your conduct was threatening and abusive behaviour and caused other people to believe that an unlawful violence could be used against them.”

Defence lawyer Andrew Swaby argued smashing a rock on the ground did not constitute threatening behaviour.

He said Dooley was an “articulate young man” with an “impeccable” record, who has aspirations of coaching football full-time.

Dooley was one of 50 people charged in connection with criminal incidents after the match on May 2.