Adam Nicholson was rushed to hospital after John Doherty attacked him
Adam Nicholson, 27, was rushed to hospital covered in blood after the attack with a Stanley knife in front of horrified spectators.
Jon Doherty, 24, has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after admitting assault and possessing an offensive weapon.
Preston Crown Court heard how Mr Nicholson was preparing to join his Walney Central teammates in a pre-season friendly against Barrow Island at Roose Pioneers’ Redwaters ground in Barrow, Cumbria, when the attack happened last March.
After an altercation between the two men over a woman, Mr Nicholson was knifed near to his team’s changing rooms.
John Doherty has been jailed for two-and-a-half years
This was a violent and unprovoked attack by Doherty and one which deserves time in prison
Detective Inspector Helen Curme
Spectators, including young children and women, watched in horror as Doherty stabbed Mr Nicholson in the head.
Doherty, of Barrow, who has played rugby and has previous convictions and jail terms for violence, fled the scene.
He later handed himself in to police, the court was told.
It was a pre-season friendly against Barrow Island at Roose Pioneers’ Redwaters ground in Barrow
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He denied causing grievous bodily harm and instead admitted a lesser charge of causing actual bodily harm.
He also admitted two counts of possessing an offensive weapon.
Outside court on Tuesday, Detective Inspector Helen Curme said: “This was a violent and unprovoked attack by Doherty and one which deserves time in prison.
Doherty stabbed Mr Nicholson (pictured) in the head
“This type of violence will not be tolerated and we are pleased Doherty is being taken out of society.
“I thank the victim and witnesses for their assistance in bringing this man to justice.”
Shaun McPoland, from Roose Pioneers, said the club had loaned the ground to Barrow Island for its game against Walney.
He said: “It was nothing to do with us but we hope never to see that sort of incident again.”