A FOOTBALL fan has defeated a police bid to ban him from attending professional and international matches for at least three years.

York railway worker Jonathan Martin Williams, 27, told the city’s magistrates court he had been travelling for many years to watch his beloved Newcastle United and England both home and away without being involved in any football-linked disorder.

He had been a member of the official England travelling supporters club and held a Magpies season ticket.

But just before he flew out to Spain to watch England last October a police officer from the National Police Football Unit visited his house, confiscated his passport and started the football ban court case. Earlier, the FA had cancelled his membership of the supporters’ club and rejected his appeal against its decision.

The police claimed there was a risk of violence if Mr Williams attended football matches because he had said he didn’t have any convictions when renewing his supporters’ club membership last summer, and had then bought a ticket in the home section of the Spanish stadium for the match which England won 3-2.

At the time, he was subject to an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years for invading his neighbour’s barbecue and with two others, attacking the next-door family.

Dismissing the football ban application, district judge Adrian Lower said: “It is a very thin application. None of this begins to satisfy me there is any reason that making the order would prevent further disorder.”

He ordered Mr Williams, of Regent Street, York, to be compensated from public funds for the money he had paid in advance on travel and accommodation for the Spanish match and the police to pay his £4,585 legal costs.

Mr Williams told the court he had been off work with stress for two weeks following the police visit and that he had been allowed to attend FA Cup and Premier League matches since October.

He said he had answered no to the conviction question because he had thought it only applied to football-related convictions, of which he has none.

When that led to the FA cancelling his officially obtained tickets for the Spanish match, he had got tickets via the internet.