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Football: Fan fined after 'bending it like Beckham'

A football fan was fined £305 (US$506) on Monday (Sep 1) after he ran onto the pitch and cheekily took a free kick during Tottenham's 1-0 win at West Ham last month.

LONDON: A football fan was fined £305 (US$506) on Monday (Sep 1) after “bending it like Beckham” when he ran onto the pitch and cheekily took a free kick during Tottenham's 1-0 win at West Ham last month.

Jordan Dunn, a 22-year-old from Kent, earned internet notoriety when he invaded the Upton Park turf just before Tottenham's Christian Eriksen was about to take a set-piece in the second half of the Premier League clash.

With Eriksen unaware of what was coming, Dunn ran up to the ball and curled in a shot which was easily saved by West Ham's Spanish goalkeeper Adrian. The supporter was then chased by a steward amid cheers from the crowd before being apprehended.

Appearing at Thames Magistrates' Court in East London on Monday, Dunn apologised for a "moment of madness" and pleaded guilty to the charge.

He was spared a ban from attending future matches, with District Judge Gareth Branston showing a sense of humour with a reference to the hit film Bend it like Beckham which takes its title from the ability of former Manchester United and England midfielder David Beckham to score brilliant curling free-kicks.

"Some time into that game a young man ran onto the pitch. That was you. You weren't paid to do that," the judge said. "You took it (the free-kick) for them. To be frank you were probably a little tired by the time you got to the ball.

"It was a longer run than was strictly necessary. You had consumed alcohol and your stride pattern was a bit out of kilter but to borrow a phrase you did bend it like Beckham. Regrettably it was about 30mph slower than Beckham."