AN OXFORD United fan who broke the jaw of a rival supporter at a bowling alley told jurors he was defending himself.

Clifford Whistler told Oxford Crown Court yesterday he only punched Dagenham and Redbridge fan Jack Conner once in self-defence after watching the match at the Kassam Stadium.

The former boxer, who claimed he had been to thousands of Oxford United home games but was never violent, said he was at Grenoble Road's Bowplex with son Darren and his girlfriend, and fellow defendant Jordan Hastie.

The 56-year-old said he noticed Mr Conner and his group of friends after one of them began taunting young Oxford United fans near a pool table, chanting the name of Dagenham striker Jamie Cureton.

Whistler, of Birchfield Close, Blackbird Leys, said he was walking towards the bar with his son when the group started "waving and gesturing" at them.

He said his son started arguing with one of the group before others got involved with the quarrel, and then saw a glass flung across towards a table.

Whistler, who suffered a heart attack 11 years ago, said three men came towards him and he then hit Mr Conner in the jaw.

He added: "I had a split second to think about it and I just threw a punch at him. I thought I was about to get beaten up. I can't fight anybody, not at my age and not with my heart condition."

He said 28-year-old Hastie, of Windrush Tower, in Knights Road, Blackbird Leys, did not throw any punches during the scuffle.

Prosecutor Christopher Hewertson put it to Whistler that he lost his temper at the bowling alley.

He added: "You are a proud Oxford fan. It was about an encroachment on your territory in the Bowlplex."

Whistler replied: "No, it was about what appeared to be not a very nice person jumping around the children."

The trial continues.