PORT Talbot striker Craig Hughes has been jailed for his part in a Cardiff
city centre brawl.
Hughes was one of eight men charged over the violence in Mill Lane, Cardiff
on 23 September last year - the day of Cardiff City's Carling Cup match against
Together the group - six City and two West Ham fans - received football banning
orders at Cardiff Crown Court totalling more than 40 years.
And because of an unexpired previous conviction, Hughes, who works as a transport
manager for a recruitment agency, will have to serve at least two years before
he can be released.
Robert Buckland, defending, said the 25-year-old's involvement in the fight
was 'momentary' and that he had landed one punch on a man holding a bottle.
He added that the striker was a 'vital part' of the Port Talbot team.
However, Judge Eleri Rees said Hughes' string of previous convictions was the
worst of the men stood in the dock and she was not prepared to let him resume
his football career.
The court heard the former Barry Town and Cwmbran player had been given a three-year
football banning order for invading the Ninian Park pitch after Cardiff City's
FA Cup win against Leeds in January 2002.
Later the same year Hughes was sentenced at Merthyr Crown Court to 30 months
in prison for unlawful wounding, a conviction which had not been spent following
his release in August 2003.
Last month a jury at Cardiff Crown Court also found Hughes guilty of violent
disorder, a charge he denied.
The judge sentenced him to a total of 33 months in prison and imposed a new
banning order preventing him from attending any big matches in England or Wales
Hughes was a trainee at Coventry City and has also played for Rhayader Town
and UWIC Inter Cardiff. The forward signed for Talbot last summer where ironically,
club skipper Russell Wigley is a policeman!
The target of interest from other clubs, he has scored 11 times in league and
Challenge Cup this season and played in Talbot's Welsh Cup semi-final defeat
at the hands of TNS.