Ex-Tottenham star Chris Armstrong punched worker and caused £2k damage after refusal in Tesco

Former Tottenham striker Chris Armstrong admitted a charge of common assault and criminal damage to Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and will be sentenced on March 1

(Image: Reach PLC)ByTom BlowSports Writer

  • 17:55, 27 Jan 2022

Chris Armstrong caused £2,000 worth of damage in a local Tesco and punched a worker to the floor after being told he couldn't buy cigarettes, a court heard.

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The former Tottenham striker, 50, admitted a charge of common assault and criminal damage to Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday morning.

The incident happened at a supermarket in Chelsea last July when staff informed Armstrong the shop was shut. The time was 2.15am.

The retired Premier League star kicked over security scanners, a stand of baskets and other items – causing the damage – and punched Tesco employee Alex Boatang.

"Officers were called to Tesco because of a report of an aggressive and violent man smashing up the store," prosecutor Nathan Fuller told the court.

"He gained access to the store by forcing his way through the door demanding cigarettes.

Chris Armstrong arrived at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday morning
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Image:
Reach PLC)

The ex-Tottenham star admitted a charge of common assault and criminal damage
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Image:
Reach PLC)

"The store was temporarily closed because the staff were taking a break. When he was told he couldn't buy cigarettes he became aggressive."

When Mr Boatang tried to stop Armstrong, he "turned and punched the work in the face with a closed fist."

The shop worker then fell to the floor and was kicked in the shin by the ex-footballer. Mr Boatang suffered injuries – including a grazed leg – and was taken to hospital to be checked over.

Armstrong fled the scene but was detained by officers shortly after. The incident was described as an "impulsive and short-lived assault" by the defence, McKenzie Webster.

She went on to say Armstrong didn't realise the shop was closed because the doors were partially open due to a problem with the locking mechanism.

The ex-striker is said to know the shop well and has been purchasing cigarettes there for 14 years. He was granted bail ahead of his sentencing at the same court on March 1.

"We do think the community order threshold has been passed," warned chair of the bench Alan Elias, who ordered probation reports.

Chris Armstrong during his Tottenham days
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Image:
Daily Mirror)

Born in Newcastle but raised in London, Armstrong started his career at Welsh side Wrexham in the late eighties before joining second tier side Millwall in August 1991.

He spent just one season with the Lions before joining Crystal Palace – where he made a name for himself – ahead of the inaugural Premier League season.

Armstrong went on to score 57 goals in 136 appearances in all competitions for the Eagles to secure a move to Tottenham.

Injuries and lack of form restricted him to just 173 games during his seven-year spell at White Hart Lane, but he still found the back of the net 62 times in all competitions.

Armstrong was also part of the squad that won the League Cup final against Leicester in March 1999 and received a senior England call up, although he didn't play.

After a brief spell at Bolton Wanderers, he finished his career at Wrexham. Armstrong became the first ever Premier League player to fail a drug test for cannabis in 1995 and was convicted of possessing cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy in 2016.

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