I'm ashamed and I apologise - Pope

Last updated : 07 August 2009 By Bigrich.....
The 23 year old striker recieved a suspended sentance and 200 community hours handed to him after pleading guilty to affray in an incident in his hometown of Stoke on Trent back in Febuary.

Pope apologies to Rotherham fans in todays todays Advertiser and also gives his side of the story.

"A lot of people have seen the video. I've only watched it once and I don't want to watch it again. I'm ashamed and I would like to apologise to anyone who has been sickened or intimidated by it." Pope said.

"I was leaving a nightclub and my fiancee was attacked by two lads. I accept my reaction was over the top, but the video does not show anything that happened before. A lot of people are saying I'm a thug, but this was completely out of character for me. I'm not a violent person and I'm not a thug in any way, shape or form."

Pope and his partner of 6 years were leaving a Nightclub in Hanley when the incident started; "I was abused outside, I walked away, but my girlfriend was attacked by two lads just to get at me. I responded and got beaten on the floor by at least two, maybe three people. They were still egging me on after they had given me a kicking. My two mates came and helped me out in the end when the other lads jumped in for the second time."

"I know I eventually went over the top and I know the video isn't pretty, but it's not nice to see your fiancee or anyone close to you get hit in the face. I wasn't having that although I accept what I did was completely out or order. I had had a drink, but it was just anger more than anything."

"My barrister said it was touch and go whether I went to jail and that frightened the life out of me, Looking at the video, it's easy to see why people would think how they do."

"Football is my life and and then something like this happens and it could have ruined my career. I know a lot of fans from Crewe, Rotherham and elsewhere are disappointed in me, as are my friends and family. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, a reaction to seeing a family member or friend being subjected to an unprovoked attack."

"Even some of the best players in the world, like Steven Gerrard, have been involved in things like this. It's out of character, but if I wasn't provoked then this wouldn't have happened. It was something I felt I couldn't walk away from at the time, but now I know better." Pope added.

Since signing with the Millers, Tom has been out and about in the borough's schools and doing community work with the club; "Hopefully I can sort something out working with the kids and in the community, I've done a lot of that sort of work at Crewe as well but hopefully I can do that work here rather than going back to Stoke to do it."

"Whatever happens, happens. I deserve what happens and if I have to go back to Stoke on a Sunday to do my community service then so be it. I was guilty and I've been punished for it. I just want to set the record straight. It's in the past and I just want to concentrate on my football, score goals and get Rotherham promoted." he added.

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