Date: 7th August 2009 at 9:47am
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Rotherham United striker, Tom Pope was handed a suspended prison sentence last Friday after admitting to a brutal attack outside a nightclub in Stoke which happened before he joined the Millers. The attack was caught on CCTV and, I think we can all agree, it was particularly vicious.

Speaking to The Advertiser, the twenty-three year old striker, said, ‘I’m not a thug. I’m ashamed for what I did and I’d like to apologise to anyone who has been sickened or intimidated by what they have seen on the video. I’ve seen it once and don’t want to see it again.

‘I was leaving a nightclub with my fiancee and was attacked by two lads. Although I accept my reaction was over the top the video does not show what happened before. I was abused but walked away and then my girlfriend was attacked by the two lads just to get at me. I responded and got beaten on the floor and they were still egging me on after they had given me a kicking. My two mates arrived and when the other lads jumped in for the second time they helped me out. I know I eventually went over the top but it’s not nice to see anyone you know get hit in the face although I do accept that what I did was completely out of order. This is completely out of character for me – I’m not a violent person or a thug.

‘I know a lot of fans at Crewe and Rotherham are disappointed in me as are my friends and family but it was a spur of the moment reaction. It was a situation I felt I couldn’t walk away from at the time but now I know better.

‘I was found guilty and I’ve been punished but I just wanted to set the record straight. It’s in the past and I want to concentrate on my football, score goals and get Rotherham United promoted.’

Pope was accused of leading the attack and was sentenced to six months’ prison suspended for eighteen months and a twelve month supervision order as well as being ordered to do two hundred hours of unpaid work.