Emotional moment Sunderland and Watford fans sing in tribute to tragic Bradley Lowery days after Sheffield Wednesday moron admitted mocking him in vile act
- Dale Houghton, 31, pleaded guilty to causing harassment, alarm and distress
This is the emotional moment Sunderland and Watford football fans united to chant a tribute to tragic cancer victim Bradley Lowery, after a man admitted mocking his death.
Dale Houghton sparked fury after showing rival fans an enlarged picture on his phone of Bradley, a Sunderland supporter who died from neuroblastoma in 2017.
A photo which circulated online showed Sheffield Wednesday fan Houghton, 31, laughing as he goaded the rival team.
But last night rival football fans from Sunderland and Watford came together to pay tribute to the youngster by singing ‘There’s only one Bradley Lowery’ six minutes into the Championship match.
Shamed football yob Houghton was branded a ‘loser’ by a former colleague, while Sunderland player Jermaine Defoe, a friend of Bradley’s, said he was ‘appalled and saddened’ by the vile act.
The actions of Dale Houghton (left) who mocked the death of mascot Bradley Lowery during a match against his favourite team were ‘utterly deplorable’, a judge has said
Sunderland mascot Bradley (pictured with Jermain Defoe) died in 2017 after he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called neuroblastoma when he was just 18 months old
Last night rival football fans from Sunderland and Watford came together to pay tribute to the youngster by singing ‘There’s only one Bradley Lowery’ six minutes into the Championship match
Houghton, from Rotherham, was arrested on Sunday and charged a day later with a public order offence. He pleaded guilty to causing harassment, alarm and distress at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard Houghton, a window fitter, had lost his job as a result of his actions and was facing a lengthy ban from attending football matches.
Prosecutor Jade Short told Sheffield Magistrates’ Court that Houghton had caused a ‘huge public revulsion’ and had clearly found it ‘enjoyable banter’ as he was smiling throughout. She added that Houghton, who can also expect a lengthy football banning order, had made a ‘full and frank admission’ to police after his arrest.
Bradley’s mother Gemma branded Houghton’s actions ‘unforgivable’. In a victim impact statement read to the court, she said: ‘This image made me feel so many emotions. I find it hard to put into words.
‘It is not just disrespectful to Bradley but also to other people who are going through the emotional trauma of dealing with cancer.
READ MORE: Now shamed football yob who mocked Bradley Lowery at match is kicked off local sports teams and told he’s ‘not welcome’ at boozers – as sacked lout is branded ‘loser’ by ex-colleague
‘This image portrays negatively. I feel upset that these two men used this image to get a reaction from Sunderland fans. It was unforgivable. I have nothing but loving memories of Bradley.’
Houghton was also kicked off his local football team, Joker Wickersley Youth CC, and the cricket team, Wickersley Old Village Cricket Club.
As well as this, individual pubs confirmed he is ‘not welcome’ at their venues, while locals say he could soon be banned from all pubs in the area.
After the image circulated online on Sunday, his football team 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.’
It also banned him from their local drinking hole, and 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.’
Bradley’s plucky spirit endeared himself to the nation and made him a firm friend with footballer Defoe, who today paid tribute to his ‘inspirational’ young friend, adding: ‘We love and miss you Brad. Love, your best friend forever.’
Defoe told MailOnline: ‘I’m appalled and saddened by the actions of the individual in question. My thoughts at this time go out to Gemma and Carl [Bradley’s parents], who shouldn’t have to deal with incidents like this, but rather be praised for the amazing work they are doing with the Bradley Lowery Foundation in their son’s memory.
Bradley’s mother Gemma (right) branded Houghton’s actions ‘unforgivable’. In a victim impact statement read to the court, she said: ‘This image made me feel so many emotions. I find it hard to put into words. It is not just disrespectful to Bradley but also to other people who are going through the emotional trauma of dealing with cancer’
Dale Houghton (pictured), 31, admitted a public order offence at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court following an incident at Sheffield Wednesday’s clash with Sunderland on Friday
Jermaine Defoe of England and mascot Bradley Lowery line up before the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between England and Lithuania at Wembley on March 26, 2017
‘I urge the public to stand behind the family and continue support the Foundation and its projects. Bradley was one of the most inspirational children this world has ever seen, and he will never stop inspiring us. We love and miss you Brad. Love, your best friend forever.’
Sunderland fan Bradley captured the nation’s heart during his battle with neuroblastoma. Fewer than 100 children in the UK are diagnosed with it each year.
He was a mascot for his beloved club and, in the months before his death, led England out at Wembley alongside former Black Cats striker Jermain Defoe.
In his short life, the Sunderland fan earned the love and admiration of millions worldwide and raised more than £1million through his charity Bradley’s Fight.
Bradley, from Hartlepool, County Durham, had been in and out of hospital for surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and intensive care treatments in the year leading to his death.
Touched by his story, the nation came together in a bid to initially cure his illness – with more than £1million being raised for his official charity, Bradley’s Fight, including large donations from several top flight clubs.
Houghton, from Rotherham, was bailed and will be sentenced on November 17.
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