York City players facing prison for their part in city centre brawl

York City players facing prison for their part in city centre brawl

Michael Rankine, left, who faces a jail term for his part in the incident, outside York Crown Court with Michael Ingham whose “not guilty” plea was accepted

Michael Gash faces a custodial sentence.

Craig Nelthorpe faces a custodial sentence.

First published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , richard.catton@thepress.co.uk

TWO York City footballers and a former team-mate have been told they could be jailed for their part in a late-night brawl in the city centre.

Striker Michael Gash and former winger Craig Nelthorpe pleaded guilty at York Crown Court yesterday to affray.

Fellow player, striker Michael Rankine, 25, denied affray but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper and former Northern Ireland international Michael Ingham’s not guilty plea was accepted after the prosecution said his involvement in the incident was “minimal.” No further action will be taken against the 30-year-old.

The court also accepted a not guilty plea from Nelthorpe to a count of assault causing actual bodily harm.

Nelthorpe, 23, has since left Bootham Crescent and is currently with Gateshead.

The four players were involved in an incident in August 2009 outside the Subway sandwich shop near The Gallery nightclub, where the players had been celebrating the completion of pre-season training. Gash, 23, was signed by City for £55,000 only weeks before.

Shortly after the incident, Acting Chief Inspector Mark Iveson of North Yorkshire Police told how an argument had broken out between the players and two males.

He said: “The incident escalated in to violence and the two males were subject to a violent assault.”

All four spent time in custody afterwards as they were questioned by police.

Yesterday David Brooke, for the prosecution, told the court the incident involved “a lot of drink” and said it had been caught on CCTV.

He said: “Nelthorpe is by far the most involved and he was to admit in interview that he caused the injury to the defendant.”

Nelthorpe, Gash and Rankine will learn their fate when they return to court for sentencing on October 6, for their part in the incident.

Recorder Anthony Kelbrick told the three that “all sentencing options, including custodial, would be open”.

The players were all granted conditional bail.

York City Football Club declined to comment on yesterday’s hearing when contacted by The Press.

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