Soccer - Barclays U21 Premier League - Reading v Fulham - Reading Training GroundImage: Matthew Partridge/Credit: Andrew Matthews/Empics Sports Photography Ltd


A Reading FC Academy player who left his motorcyclist road rage victim with damaged vision and 'sheets of skin' hanging from his neck has walked free from court.

Professional footballer Matthew Partridge, who earns £350 a week with Reading FC Academy, was handed a year's jail sentence suspended for two years and 240 hours unpaid work after admitting Actual Bodily Harm at Reading Crown Court.

The court heard how Partridge, 20, pushed motorcyclist James Mannion into a hedge, punched him three times and held him by the throat after taking umbrage to him photographing the licence plate of his Vauxhall Astra following an insurance claim row.

Partridge had refused to give insurance details to Mr Mannion after a collision with the motorcyclist in Woolhampton on August 29 last year. The young footballer "lost his temper with catastrophic consequences," according to his defence, and hit Mr Mannion three times.

According to GetReading.co.uk, the third blow to his eye made his brow bleed profusely, his eye swelled causing him to lose sight at first, then lose colour vision for some time and required repeated visits to hospital.

Mr Mannion was taking painkillers for 15 days after the incident and still has residual eye problems.

The court also heard the promising sportsman had a previous caution for hitting a friend in a nightclub when he had been drinking.

Partridge wept as Judge Angela Morris sentenced him to 12 months' detention suspended for two years, ordered him to carry out 240 hours unpaid work and to pay Mr Mannion £2,000 in compensation.

According to The Mirror, Judge Morris said: "Thuggish behaviour will not be tolerated."

She added: "By your own ill disciplined actions you let yourself down as well as all of those who have invested so much time and effort in you.

"I don't just mean those at Reading Football Club. I mean your mum and dad as well.

"You are a role model for those who wish to follow in your footsteps."