Ambition to join army ruined by training ground spat

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A KEEN Eastbourne footballer has been forced to hang up his boots and forsake his ambition to join the army after being attacked by a fellow army-hopeful, a court heard.

Marcus Harley, who played first-team football for Eastbourne Town, was left with heavy bruising to his face and psychological scars after being headbutted and punched in the eye following an army training ground spat in Wish Road, Eastbourne.

Mateusz Grochowski, 18, of Willoughby Crescent, Eastbourne, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm to Mr Harley.

In a statement read to Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday (February 11) Mr Harley said he had given up football, boxing and his wish to join the army since the incident on November 12.

The pair who, according to Julian Mussi for the defence, had a history stretching back to their school days, were taking part in a bridge-building exercise in two teams of 20. Grochowski was leading one team and Mr Harley wandered over from the opposition.

Grochowski thought Mr Harley was trying to undermine him in front of his team and told him to leave, but Mr Harley refused. The prosecution said Grochowski became aggressive spun Mr Harley around, headbutted and punched him in the face, giving him a swollen nose and black eye.

Mr Mussi said, “He (Grochowski) wanted to join the army but that ambition has been thwarted to some degree. Subsequent to this incident he was asked to leave the course and he is now on Job Seeker’s Allowance.”

Mr Mussi said Grochowski’s application to join the army is likely to be rejected.

He added, “Simply he felt embarrassed, he felt the individual was making fun of him. He asked him to go back to his own group and he’s reacted. It inflamed the low-level aggression he felt towards him.”

Grochowski was given a 16-week community order and ordered to pay £400 in compensation to Mr Harley.