Justice for the Archway One! Arsenal fan Mick Doherty’s Emirates ban lifted after four-year campaign
- Credit: Archant
“Justice” has been served for the Archway One.
Nearly four years after Mick Doherty’s beloved Arsenal banned him from watching games at the Emirates Stadium, it has now been lifted and he plans to attend Sunday’s season opener against Liverpool.
Mr Doherty, 49, was barred for five years after a “non-football related” spat with a fellow Gooner in November 2012. He pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening words and behaviour and sentenced to 180 hours of community service.
A huge “Justice for the Archway One” campaign followed. Over 3,000 people signed a petition calling on the club to lift Mr Doherty’s ban. He was also supported by club legends Ian Wright and Nigel Winterburn, as well as Islington North MP and Arsenal fan Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Doherty, also chairman of Islington Boxing Club, said: “That incident was nothing to do with football and was well away from the ground, in Stroud Green. Last year, the ombudsman recommended the ban to be rescinded, but it was ignored by the club - until now.
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“It didn’t give any reasons, but it felt amazing when I heard the news. It came out of the blue. I’ve been to the odd away game and European trip, but I’m a lifelong Gooner and have obviously missed going to home games. I plan to be there on Sunday.”
The Independent Football Ombudsman had drawn on evidence from police, which showed no concern about his behaviour, in calling for Arsenal to lift the ban.
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And at the end of June, six days after the EU referendum and facing huge pressure as leader of the Labour Party, Mr Corbyn wrote to executive director Ken Friar calling for “further thought on this matter”.
“Even with the storm around him recently,” Mr Doherty said, “he found time for one of his constituents. It shows he’s a man of the people.
“It’s terrific to have gained so much support: people with their banners and badges and so on. I even released a song, ‘Justice for the Archway One’, which was the most played in the George pub [in Eden Grove, Holloway]. That is quite a claim to fame.”
An Arsenal spokesman said this week: “In line with the club’s procedures, we recently carried out our annual review of all stadium bans. In the case of Mr Doherty, we took the decision to conditionally suspend the remainder of his five year ban.”