Sex offender footballer Niall Mason, sacked by Doncaster Rovers, joins Peterborough United
A former Doncaster Rovers footballer sacked by Doncaster Rovers after pleading guilty to sex offences has signed for the club’s League One rivals Peterborough United.
Niall Mason, 22, was given the boot by Rovers earlier this year after he pleaded guilty to sexual assault.
He was handed a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years and placed on the sex offenders' register for seven years after pleading guilty to the attack on a woman at a bar in Bawtry.
Now the footballer has resurrected his career – and will reunite with former Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Ferguson, now in charge at United.
The right-back has signed a two year deal – and both Ferguson and Mason have said the deal is a a chance for the footballer to open a new chapter in his career.
“This could be viewed as a controversial signing given what happened to him earlier this year,” Ferguson said. “Obviously the boy has made a massive mistake, but I do believe he deserves another chance. He has admitted he has made a mistake. He had poor advice from his legal team, which is something he is aware of, but clearly as a club, we feel we can move on from it.
“There were several other clubs in for his services. We have done well to get the deal over the line. He is a very versatile player, he was excellent for me at Doncaster and there is no question that he has the right character.
“He can play in a number of different positions, technically good with both feet and he was ‘Mr Consistent’ at Doncaster.
“Working with him in the time he did, I am fully aware that what happened involving him is not part of his personality. Niall is not the person that people may view him as from the outside based on that once incident.
“It is important we have a bit of versatility from within the squad. He can play right-back, left-back or as a centre-back as part of a three. He can play in midfield and he understands exactly how I want to play. I am looking forward to working with him again.”
Mason helped Doncaster to promotion from League Two in the 2017-18 season and was a regular in the first half of last term before departing the Keepmoat Stadium following the well-documented off-the-pitch incident.
Mason, who used the first part of his video interview with the football club, to put his viewpoint on the last few months, said: “I made a big mistake in my life and the reason for the plea at court was off the back of advice from my legal team, which they really got wrong. I am upset about what happened, but it is now about trying to move on and looking to the future. I have joined a really good club and I can’t wait to get started.
“I know the manager well. He gave me my debut at Doncaster and I know what he is all about and what he will expect from me. I will do all I can to help the team in whatever position the gaffer plays me in. It is down to me to train well and show everyone what I can do.”
Mason was convicted of sexual assault in January when he entered a guilty plea at Sheffield Crown Court but later took to Twitter to protest his innocence.
He said: “Just wanted to set the record straight to everyone concerned.
“The guilty plea I put in was because of advice given to me by my legal counsel, advice I wish I’d never have taken.
“I’m now doing everything I can to prove my innocence and have been doing the necessary procedures needed to do so.
“A lot of what was written in the media regarding the allegation was simply not true.
“I would also like to say, there are always two sides to a story, so don’t always believe what you read.
The court heard how Mason groped a woman’s breast at Pangea bar in Bawtry last year.
The court was told that Mason grabbed the woman's hair and pulled her towards him and then proceeded to slip his hand up the woman's jumper and began to rub the skin on her back, before moving his hand away and telling the woman to 'cover up’.
He then put his hand up the woman's jumper once again, but this time fondled the woman's right breast underneath her bra.