A HEARTS fan whose head-first dive onto the pitch-side track at Tynecastle after careering down a flight of concrete steps attracted around 750,000 hits on YouTube, has been sentenced to community service.
Francesco Fortucci, 38, of Eltringham Gardens, had pleaded guilty to being drunk in the stadium, committing a breach of the peace and struggling with police officers at the Hearts-Hibs derby match on January 3 this year. Sentence was deferred until today for reports.
It was during the half-time interval that Fortucci’s tumble was filmed by a Hibs fan on his mobile and later released online.
Defence agent, Kenneth McFarlane, told Sheriff Nigel Ross that his client had a problem with alcohol, but had been working with counsellors for some time now to address the problem.
“He understands he cannot behave in this way,” he added.
His client, he said, had been banned from football grounds since the incident, but Hearts were now prepared to let him back in. He had been a season ticket holder for years.
The solicitor said the only violence had been a struggle with the police. The players were not on the pitch and Fortucci was some distance away from the Hibs fans.
Sheriff Ross said sentenced him to perform 100 hours of unpaid work within six months, and said he would not impose a football banning order. The struggling with the police, he said been due to drunkenness and disorientation, due to drink and the significant blow he received when he catapulted “to the amusement of supporters of both sides” onto the tarmac.
Fortucci, he pointed out had been in a neck brace for two to three months. “You made a complete fool of yourself” he said. “I think you have been punished enough”.