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Former Manchester United player Ronnie Wallwork has been sentenced to 18 months jail suspended for two years following an assault in 2019 – sparked by a pair of trainers.
The 43-year-old, who spent five years in the Old Trafford academy before leaving in 2002, pleaded guilty on Thursday to inflicting grievous bodily harm on Alan Mulholland on 22 December 2019.
While co-defendant David Garner, 43, admitted to the same charge.
The assault saw Mr Mulholland's eye socket fractured during a drunken pub brawl after Wallwork was ''mocked'' about the style of his brand new bright white trainers, it was heard at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court.
Mr Mulholland had been accused of making derogatory remarks about Wallwork's sneaker-style footwear and pointing at them during a night out just three days before Christmas.
Mr Mulholland required three stitches for a wound to his face and also suffered facial swelling and a bloodshot eye.
In addition to his suspended sentence, Wallwork was ordered to complete a ‘Better Solutions’ rehabilitation programme and to complete 200 hours unpaid work and pay Mr Mulholland £500 in compensation.
Judge Tina Landale told the court: "An argument started with your victim which led to you both losing your tempers in a brutal attack on your victim.
"It started when the victim was head-butted by Mr Garner and was followed by punches from Mr Wallwork, the force of which knocked him back and caused him to fall. The incident was somewhat sustained lasting 25 seconds.
‘’It has had a long-lasting effect on your victim leaving him with a fractured eye socket and bruising.
"The head but was used as a weapon and the assault was aggravated by the fact it was in a pub and was committed under the influence of alcohol.
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‘’You are both remorseful and rae sorry for what you did and are not just sorry got yourself as is so often expressed in this court. This was out of character for both of you and you are both hardworking men.’’
Both men were put on bail after the first hearing in February and received their sentence on Tuesday.
Wallwork joined the United academy in 1994, signing a trainee contract after a successful Sunday League spell in hometown Manchester.
He was a regular in the youth side, making 77 appearances to win the FA Youth Cup – and even got picked up by England U20s for 1997 Youth Championships in Malaysia.
Sir Alex Ferguson gave the midfielder his chance in 1997, making his debut in a 7-0 home win against Barnsley.
But most of his time at United was spent out on loan at Carlisle, Stockport County and Antwerp before leaving in 2002 for West Brom.
While he made 107 appearances for the Baggies, Wallwork was once again loaned out regularly to Bradford, Barnsley, Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday before leaving in 2008.
He retired that same year.
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