A former Daventry Town Football Club manager and chairman called a woman a “slag” when she rejected him then bit off her husband’s ear, a court heard.
The BBC radio pundit and ex-Premier League striker, Allan Smart, 42, lunged at 51-year-old Ricky Power during a drunken night out.
The assault by Smart, who made one appearance for Northampton Town on loan in the 1996-97 Third Division, came after he tried to kiss his girlfriend’s best friend Lisa Power, 42.
Mrs Power claims that Smart flew into a rage when she pushed him away, drunkenly cursed her before launching the vicious attack on her unsuspecting husband Ricky as he ordered drinks at the Kings Arms pub in Swindon.
The 6ft2 striker leaned forwards, sank his teeth into Mr Power’s right ear and ripped off the lobe - before spitting it on the ground and walking away, the court heard.
The victim received hospital treatment to have his ear glued back in place, is set to undergo plastic surgery and is seeing a counsellor to deal with the trauma.
Dad-of-four Smart, of Oxford, was handed a two-year suspended sentence after admitting wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in April last year.
He was ordered to pay £1,500 compensation and carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.
Sentencing him, Judge Tim Mousley QC described it as a “vicious and gruesome” assault and said Smart has a “problem with drink”.
He said: “Nobody would have thought the evening would have ended the way it did. You went out and you were all drinking, there is no doubt about that.
“But in the Kings Arms you became aggressive for reasons that are not entirely clear but when you were at the bar you were with Mr Power and you leaned over towards his head and bit him in the way that has been described.”
“This was a vicious way to inflict injury and the injury of course is very serious,” he added.
Suspending his sentence, Judge Mousley said: “You are normally and quite obviously a thoroughly decent man.”
“I have come to the conclusion, although I am bound to say I haven’t found it easy to do so, that wholly exceptionally this is a case where the sentence can be suspended.”
Defending, Adrian Langdale told of Smart’s charity work overseas and read a character reference from BBC radio, which commended his “hard work”.
Mr Langdale said: “With his plea of guilty today, Allan Smart has completed his substantial fall from grace.
“He is a man who had a difficult background and climbed significantly up the ladder of society and with this particular offence he has completed the fall all the way back down again.”
He added that Smart bit the victim in a “moment of madness” and showed “genuine remorse” afterwards.
Speaking following the hearing on Friday Mrs Power, a chemist of Swindon, said: “Ricky’s ear was completely hacked off and there was so much blood.
“I went into complete shock. I wanted to kill him. Ricky just stood there. Allan smirked at me and then walked out.”
Swindon Crown Court heard Smart was out with his girlfriend Sarah Harvey, 41, and her friends Lisa and Ricky at The Kings Arms in Old Town, Swindon, on April 12 2016.
Mrs Power claims things turned sour when Smart made a move on her, rubbing her knee at the table and winking at her even though his girlfriend was there.
Prosecuting, Hannah Squires added: “She believes Allan Smart bit her husband’s ear because he was angry with her and was unable to take it out on her.”
In a statement read aloud by Ms Squires, Ricky said he was a “chilled out” bloke before the incident and has since been signed off sick.
He said: “I worry people stare at me. I have never been in a fight in my life and now because of my injuries I fear people will assume it is my fault and think I’m a thug.”
He has suffered from nightmares and paranoia. Him and his wife have both had counselling since the incident, as well as getting their locks changed.
Speaking after the hearing, Smart said: “We just need to move on.”
The ex-pro footballer began his career in 1993 with Scottish team Caledonian and played for teams including Carlisle, Dundee and Watford in his 16-year playing career.
He played for Cobblers only once on a short loan spell and managed Daventry Town during the 2014-15 season before becoming the club’s chairman after Iain Humphrey resigned from the role.
Smart currently works for a sports education firm promoting apprenticeships.