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Mission Celery lands Chelsea fan in court

LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) - A soccer fan on Wednesday faced
charges of hurling celery at Sunday's FA Cup semi-final, police
said, in an incident linked to an obscure vegetable-throwing
ritual observed by Chelsea supporters.
The website of Chelsea's unofficial supporters club, CFCNET,
suggests the celery throwing operation -- codenamed "Mission
Celery" -- had been planned a week before the team clashed with Fulham at the Villa Park ground in Birmingham.
Fans deemed it a success, but police were less impressed.
"A man from Gravesend in Kent was arrested for throwing
objects onto the pitch, some of which included celery, and one
of which is believed to have struck somebody," a spokesman for
West Midlands police told Reuters on Tuesday.
CFCNET suggested that Fulham manager Jean Tigana had been
struck by a stick of celery during "Mission Celery", but it was
unclear if it was the stick thrown by the accused.
"Poor Tigana did his best to shrug off the Chelsea hordes
behind his dug-out until a stick of celery struck him square in
the middle of the bonce," reported one fan.
West Midlands police said the fan was due to appear before
Birmingham magistrates on April 17.
One Chelsea fan told Reuters: "The celery tradition goes
back 20 years. It relates to one particular anthem, but the
logic of throwing celery has been lost in the mists of time.
It's a friendly thing to throw. It doesn't leave a dent."
The traditional anthem -- the language of which is only fit
for the stands -- relates to the use of the vegetable as a sex
aid but contains no soccer references.
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