I'm no racist! Chelsea fan accused of 'monkey' taunt at Welbeck breaks silenceClub and Police investigating fan's behaviourChelsea appeal for information led to fan being identified on internet
Comes after referee Mark Clattenburg stands accused by Chelsea of telling John Mikel Obi to 'shut it, monkey' during last Sunday's game against United
11:36 GMT, 3 November 2012
The Chelsea fan caught making an apparent monkey gesture at Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck has claimed he is not a racist.
Gavin Kirkham was in the front row of the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night when he was caught on camera appearing to taunt Welbeck.
Kirkham, 28, from Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire, was named on social networking sites after Chelsea appealed for help in identifying him. The club and the police both launched investigations.
Taunt: Chelsea fan Gavin Kirkham appears to make a monkey gesture at Stamford Bridge
According to the Daily Mirror, Kirkham texted his flatmate Kevin Cleverly – who is also his landlord – and said: 'I’m ashamed of what I did. I’m totally ashamed of myself and I wish it hadn’t happened.
'I know what I did was wrong. I know how it looks and what’s been said.
'I’ve just made a mistake. A huge mistake. I’m not a racist. I’m just one of the boys.
'I had a couple of pints and got a bit lairy but I’m not a bad lad. I just got wrapped up in the match.
'I’m sorry I brought the game into disrepute.'
Kirkham is expected to be questioned in the next few days as Scotland Yard are reported to be speaking to Hertfordshire Police about what steps to take next.
Unacceptable: The Chelsea fan (circled) appears to to make a monkey gesture towards Welbeck after the striker mis-controls the ball
Police have the CCTV footage from Wednesday's match and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reported to have said he does not want the man back in the stadium.
An aide to the Russian told the Mirror; 'Roman is not happy. He has spoken to officials and told them the man should never be allowed inside the ground again.'
The incident is the latest storm to rock Stamford Bridge after referee Mark Clattenburg was accused of using racist language towards John Mikel Obi and Juan Mata in last weekend's Premier League match between Chelsea and United.
Mikel is pursuing the case against Clattenburg after the official allegedly told
him to ‘shut it, monkey’.
Stirring the pot: Manchester United fans display a banner about Clattenburg, mocking the well-known slogan Chelsea fans attach to captain John Terry, who allegedly racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand
Message: Manchester United fans take aim at Chelsea over the race rows that have engulfed the club
The second element of the London club’s initial complaint
alleging the referee called Mata ‘a Spanish t***’ was dropped on
the advice of the club’s external legal team.
Chelsea believe they have enough
evidence to convince an FA independent regulatory commission that they
can meet the civil standard of proof, which is the balance of
has denied using racist or inappropriate language in a submission to the
FA and is backed by his two assistants and the fourth official.
Chelsea captain John Terry is serving a four-match ban after being found guilty by a Football Association independent regulatory commission of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand during a match last season.