Irish man charged in connection with racial abuse of former Man Utd star Andy Cole
An Irish man has been charged in connection with the racial abuse of former Manchester United star Andy Cole on a flight from Dublin to Manchester.
He and another man, of no fixed address, were said to be drunk during the flight when the retired striker was subjected to racial slurs.
The men, both aged in their 20s, were arrested when the Aer Lingus flight touched down at Manchester Airport on Sunday.
They appeared before Trafford Magistrates' Court today where they were charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Police confirmed officers were called to the airport in relation to an inbound flight from Dublin.
"Officers were responding to reports that a 42-year-old man was being subjected to racial abuse while on the plane, and that two passengers were drunk and would not co-operate with cabin staff," a spokesman said.
Separately Andy Cole has had to suffer racial taunts as he has been subject to a number of incidents of abuse throughout his soccer career – both on and off the pitch.
The former British-record signing was on the receiving end of racist chanting for Manchester United during a Champions League tie against Juventus in 1996 and more famously along with his international team-mate Emile Heskey was subjected to taunts from Slovakia supporters during an international qualifier in 2002.
Cole (42) who has also played for England and Newcastle United, is involved with the Kick It Out campaign, an anti-discrimination body set up to promote equality in football.
A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: "Gregory Horan, 26, of no fixed abode, has been charged with being drunk in an aircraft and Lee Patrick Byrne, 28, from Dublin, Republic of Ireland, has been charged with a racially-aggravated public order offence."