The Newcastle United fan who was arrested for punching a police horse in the head has insisted that it was a self-defence reaction after it "charged" towards him.
Barry Rogerson, who left his job working in a factory in 2005 because of a lung condition, was involved in one of many unsavoury scenes that unfolded following the Magpies' 3-0 defeat to arch rivals Sunderland on Sunday.
"It all happened so quickly," Rogerson told The Sun. "I had just left the pub after the match and I walked straight into the middle of it. The horse was spooked by a fire cracker and charged at me.
"At first I tried to get him away from me with my left hand and then I punched him with my right. It was sheer panic. I believe it made contact with the horse. It was an instant reaction. The horse just came towards me and I reacted stupidly.
"I apologise for it, I did not actually go out to attack a horse. I love animals. I have got three dogs and a fishpond. To hit a horse, like, bloody hell, I don't know what came over me."
The 45-year-old has been released on bail by police until May.