Former Manchester United footballer Ronnie Wallwork has been given a suspended prison sentence after he admitted an assault on a man who stepped on his white trainers.
Alan Mulholland sustained a fractured right eye socket in the attack which took place in a pub in Droylsden, Greater Manchester, on December 22, 2019.
Wallwork was given an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, at a hearing at Minshull Street Crown Court, in Manchester, on Tuesday, after pleading guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm at an earlier hearing.
He was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work, to complete a rehabilitation programme and to pay Mr Mulholland £500 in compensation.
David Gardner, 43, from Newton Heath, Manchester, who had admitted the same charge, was also given an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.
Gardner was ordered to complete a rehabilitation programme and to pay Mr Mulholland compensation of £1,000.
The court heard that the assault, which lasted 25 seconds, happened after comments were made about Wallwork’s white trainers.
CCTV showed the three men exchanging words across The Jam Works Bar on Market Street, and then Gardner headbutting Mr Mulholland, before Wallwork continued the attack by punching the victim several times.
Alex Langhorn, mitigating, said Mr Mulholland had stepped on Wallwork’s shoes just prior to the attack.
He likened it to a “school yard incident that should not ever have happened” and stated that both defendants “bitterly regret” the entire confrontation.
Judge Tina Landale said the “brutal attack” was “out of character” for “both hard working men”.
A victim impact statement read out by prosecutor Brendan O’Leary described the severe emotional affect that the attack had on Mr Mulholland.
It read: “It has left me feeling depressed, nothing like this has ever happened to me.
“I am always looking over my shoulder worrying about being assaulted again.”
Mr Langhorn, representing both defendants, said Wallwork had been stabbed in 2006 which ended his football career, adding that the trauma still has a “catastrophic affect on his life and still affects him to this day”.
The court heard Wallwork is not currently working, but Mr Langhorn added: “He does have hope for the future, he has a number of offers that are open to him.
“He is working his way back to providing a proper family for his partner, proper support and a proper role model.”
Wallwork was jailed in December 2011 for 15 months after he was caught selling on parts from stolen high-performance cars.
Police stumbled upon the illegal vehicle-breaking operation in Newton Heath while investigating a string of unconnected armed robberies across Lancashire.
The midfielder, who represented England at under-20 level, joined United as a trainee in 1993 but struggled to command a first-team place and was loaned to a number of clubs before he joined West Bromwich Albion in 2002.
Loan periods at Bradford City, Barnsley and Huddersfield followed before he moved to Sheffield Wednesday in 2008 where he made just seven appearances.