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Dec 30, 2012

Lukaku suspect 'was doing chicken dance'

A Sunderland fan who has been accused of making a monkey gesture towards West Brom striker Romelu Lukaku has claimed he was doing a chicken dance.

Liam Jones, 21, from Hendon, Sunderland, was arrested by police after pictures surfaced of what appeared to be him making a racist gesture towards Lukaku, following his goal during the Black Cat's 4-2 defeat to West Brom.

Jones, who is currently unemployed, has proclaimed his innocence however, and feels his actions have been misunderstood.

"People have got it all wrong," he said. "I wasn't doing a monkey chant. I was doing a chicken dance.

"I'm devastated people think I'm racist. I have black friends and black cousins. If I was racist, I wouldn't pay to watch Sunderland because they have black players."

Jones, an amateur kickboxer, has been released on bail until January after initially being arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated intentional harassment. Sunderland have banned him from the Stadium of Light until an outcome of the investigation is reached.

"I'm absolutely gutted I can't go to matches," he said. "I've been going for years. I can see where the club is coming from and I can see how the photo looks, but I want everyone to know that I am not racist."

A spokesperson for Sunderland said: "Sunderland AFC cannot comment whilst a police investigation is being conducted. The person involved, in line with our club policy, is banned from the Stadium of Light until the result of the investigation is known."

Lukaku has declined to speak on the matter, while West Brom manager Steve Clarke condemned the incident and pledged his full support to his striker.