A violent football fan who became the ‘face’ of the AAMI Park pitch invasion is now seeking to avoid jail over the incident.
Alex Agelopoulos, 24, appeared in the Victorian County Court on Tuesday to appeal a three-month jail sentence that his barrister, Dermot Dann KC, claimed was an ‘injustice’.
‘He’s the one that has been the face of this terrible incident,’ he said.
‘In a way he’s wearing the behaviour of all of them … None of those other members have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment.’
Agelopoulos, dubbed ‘Bucket Man’ in the media after hurling a metal bucket that injured former Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover, was convicted in August after pleading guilty to violent disorder and disrupting a game.
Alex Agelopoulous has appealed a jail sentence for his role in the AAMI Park chaos
Agelopoulous was one of a huge group of fans to invade the pitch. He assaulted goalkeeper Tom Glover with a bucket
He was sentenced to a three-month term of imprisonment to be followed by an 18-month community corrections order by magistrate Rosemary Falla, who said he had ‘stained the very fabric of football in Australia’.
Immediately following the sentence, Mr Dann announced they would file an appeal and Agelopoulos was granted bail within an hour.
In a victim impact statement read to the Magistrates’ Court, Mr Glover said he had been left with a ‘permanent reminder’ of Agelopoulos’ offending by the scar on his right cheek.
He told the court that he was now fearful and anxious when out in public and felt wary when stepping out on the pitch.
Outlining the facts of the case, prosecutor Andrew Grant said the incident occurred during the A-League derby match between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory on December 17 last year.
He told the court 38 individuals had been charged over the incident, with the majority already dealt with.
Spectators had planned to walk out at the 20-minute mark to protest Football Federation Australia’s ‘unpopular’ deal to host the next three grand finals at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium.
Instead, after Mr Glover accidentally threw a lit flare into the stand, about 120 to 150 people from the northern stand stormed the pitch at 8.06pm.
Multiple people, including referee Alex King, Mr Glover, a camera man and two security guards, were injured during the chaos, which caused more than $200,000 in damage to the stadium.
Arguing his client should not have been sentenced to imprisonment, Mr Dann said Ms Falla should not have given Agelopoulos a harsher sentence than his co-offenders.
His lawyer says his client has been the victim of an ‘injustice’ and says he has unfairly became the face of the darkest day in Australian football
‘It cannot, of course, be rational or fair or just to distinguish one offender on the basis his actions have received maximum publicity where other offenders have gone under the radar,’ he said.
‘We say it becomes apparent there has been an injustice in this case.’
Mr Dann pointed to the community corrections orders imposed on other offenders, who he said had played an equal, or even greater, role than his client.
He told the court that his client had been labelled ‘Bucket Man’ and a ‘thug’ in the media following the incident, and that had weighed heavily on his view of himself.
The hearing was adjourned by Judge Mark Gamble to allow Agelopoulos to be assessed for a corrections order. He will return to court on Friday.