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03rd Oct 2023

Man who mocked Bradley Lowery banned from local pubs and sports teams

Callum Boyle

Bradley Lowery

He was charged with a public order offence on Saturday

A football fan who taunted Sunderland supporters by holding up a picture of a child cancer victim has now been barred from local pubs and has been kicked off all of his sports teams.

Dale Houghton displayed a picture on his phone of six-year-old Sunderland mascot Bradley Lowery, who died in 2017 from neuroblastoma – a rare form of cancer – during Sheffield Wednesday’s match at Hillsborough on Friday. 

The 31-year-old was arrested Saturday and charged with a public order offence. His brother, Drew, 27, was also arrested, but has since been released on police bail. However, Houghton has been warned that he could face jail time when he returns to Court in November for sentencing.

Bradley’s bravery and spirit endeared him to the nation and made him a friend of footballer Jermain Defoe, and following the “sickening incident” over the weekend a fundraiser was set up in Bradley’s memory. As of Tuesday afternoon, over £20,000 has been donated to the Bradley Lowery Foundation “to show our support and stand up against this type of behaviour in football”.

As reported by the Daily Star, Houghton has been kicked off his football and cricket teams in the village of Wickersley while some local pubs have told him that he’s “not welcome”.

Joker Wickersley Youth CC, the football club he played for, said: “Joker Wickersley Youth CC, Wickersley OVCC, our committee, players and all involved with the club do not condone the behaviour of the people in question in any way, shape or form. The player has been banned from playing for us indefinitely.”

They added: “The player was de-registered from our club instantly as soon as we were made aware of the sickening behaviour by both ourselves and the league. All we can do is apologise for the distress this has caused to so many people.”

Staff at the Masons Arms have confirmed that Houghton is banned from entering their pub, with many expected to follow suit.

“He’s no longer welcome here at the Masons Arms and I believe at the next Pubwatch meeting, going forward I’m pretty sure it will be brought up in that – he might not be allowed in pubs in the Wickersley area,” said a staff member.

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