A footballer’s night out to celebrate his team surviving relegation almost ended up with him going to jail.
Nottingham Crown Court heard how David Smith-Barlow, 25, from Kirkby, had to be thrown out of a nightclub where he told bouncers “I stab people”.
And his arrest came just four days after he had been handed a suspended prison-sentence of two years for possession of heroin with intent to supply.
The judge, Recorder Nigel Daly, told Smith-Barlow, who plays for Keyworth United in the Notts Senior League: “My immediate reaction was to impose the suspended sentence straight away because you also have previous convictions for similar matters.”
Instead, the judge spared him jail “by the skin of his teeth” after reading references and a probation report, that said he was “working hard” to improve his life.
The court heard he “regularly drank to excess, which caused him to become violent. But he had addressed the problem with an alcohol awareness programme.
It was while celebrating with his Keyworth teammates that he got into trouble.
Lisa Hardy, prosecuting, said: “He was aggressive towards others and was asked to leave. When he refused, staff tried to forcibly eject him, but as he struggled, he was abusive and made threats, including the one about stabbing people.”
Smith-Barlow pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke violence on Easter Monday, March 28 and breaching the suspension order. He was sentenced to a further four months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work.
The judge said: “This is your last chance. Throw it away and, next time, you will be going inside.”