A FORMER professional footballer was among a group of men causing a drunken nuisance at a Darwen football pitch.

Blackburn magistrates heard that when police tried to move the men on one of them brandished a bottle.

Robert Davidson, 22, of Gordon Street, and Gary Brown, 23, of Anchor Avenue, both Darwen, were convicted after a trial of using threatening behaviour.

Davidson, who was wielding the bottle, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work and pay £300 costs.

Brown was ordered to do 150 hours’ unpaid work and pay £100 costs.

The court heard the defendants and others had been playing football on an artificial pitch in Olive Lane and when the lights went out they started drinking.

Brown had accepted drinking 20 bottles of lager.

The group became rowdy and neighbours called the police.

District Judge Peter Ward said the police simply asked them to get rid of their drinks and move on.

“Most of them did but you two started to cause a problem,” said Judge Ward. “The police should not have to put up with this kind of behaviour and neither should the people who live in this area.”

Brown played for Rochdale until earlier this year when he was released after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.

The court was told he hoped to start work as a coach teaching young children soccer skills and also hoped to return to the professional football ranks once his injury was fully healed.