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Footy mob leaders lose their appeal

PUBLISHED: 18:22 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:23 25 August 2010

TWO normally law-abiding football thugs who ambushed a trainload of rival fans at Sydenham station last year have failed to convince top judges their sentences were too harsh.

TWO normally law-abiding football thugs who ambushed a trainload of rival fans at Sydenham station last year have failed to convince top judges their sentences were too harsh.

Harvey Neenan, 45, of Abbots Park, Tulse Hill and Dominic Goodridge, 33, from Caterham, Surrey, were each jailed for 40 months at Southwark Crown Court in February after admitting violent disorder over the attack in September last year, in which families and children were also terrorised on the train.

Lord Justice Hooper told London's Appeal Court last Wednesday that both were normally exemplary family men and model citizens - except when associated with drink or football.

Describing Goodridge as a "Jekyll and Hyde character", the judge added: "It is sad to see two men with such good characters before the court."

The pair were "ringleaders" in the mob attack on the train pulling into Sydenham station last September in the prelude to a game between Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic.

Goodridge and Neenan led the "vanguard" of Crystal Palace thugs who swarmed onto the train, terrifying children and families who happened to be on board as well as their Charlton Athletic rivals.

The fans attacked the train in a "pincer movement", said Lord Justice Hooper, moving into the front and rear of the train to prevent their rivals' escape.

Goodridge and Neenan moved through the train at will, raining punches down on rival supporters as other Crystal Palace fans roared "this is our manor" and told the Charlton fans: "You're not singing your silly songs now".

Dismissing the appeals, Lord Justice Hooper, sitting with Mr Justice Maddison and Mr Justice Nelson, rejected submissions that the sentences imposed on Neenan and Goodridge were "manifestly excessive".

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