Teenager gets banned from Malta after Twitter stunt
I know I probably shouldn't say it but, as somebody who doesn't really care much for soccer, the most entertaining games for me are always the ones that involve pitch-invaders. I mean, what would you rather watch: a lone daredevil getting chased down and tackled by a bunch of security guards, or 22 men kicking a ball to one another for 90 minutes? Yeah, thought so.
Apparently, Twitter favoured the former option, too, as they encouraged 16-year-old Jake Peachey to run onto the pitch during the Malta vs England game last week. Well, I say encouraged - the teenager actually tweeted a picture of the pitch at the beginning of the match with the caption: "400 retweets and I'll pitch invade the Malta V England game".
To many, this might have seemed like an empty promise posted in order to attain a little attention on social media. You know, a few extra followers, maybe get a hashtag trending - that sort of thing. But Peachey seemed 100 percent serious as his post started gaining traction.
"Almost there," he tweeted as the game went on. "Malta V England pitch invasion attempt coming up second half".
593 retweets later, and the teenager stuck by his word.
"69th minute pitch invasion watch for it," he wrote in a post that achieved nearly 6,000 retweets.
Sure enough, the 69th minute arrived... and so did Peachey. In a spectacular (though obviously highly frowned-upon) display of athleticism, the England fan managed to hurdle over the barriers and outrun security guards before making it onto the pitch. Once there, he embraced several players - and seemed to be getting away with it, too. That was until a second chase ensued, in which Peachey managed to clear most of the field and whip off his shirt before being taken down by match security.
As could be expected, however, the teen didn't get away without punishment. After spending a night in jail, Peachey updated the world on the consequences of his actions. "200 Euro fine, probably a life time ban, a night in lockup and a 1 year ban from Malta! Oh well it was worth it," he tweeted the next morning.
While sentencing the boy, the judge who presided over the case also took the opportunity to mock Peachey for supporting the soccer team Arsenal. "You always come close but never win anything!" he said. I'm not sure what the teenager would have taken as a worse burn - being banned from a country, or having his precious team slammed by a court judge.
You can see the whole video here:
Of course, what Peachey did was stupid and dangerous - and it's obviously not a good idea to do something just because the internet egged you on. But, on this occasion, nobody was hurt, and it certainly livened up an otherwise dull game. Peachey was pretty fortunate to get off with such a light punishment, too. Let's hope that any future visits to Malta don't end in the same way for him.