A JUBILANT football supporter from Redditch was banned after setting off a flare during celebrations at the Amex Stadium.

John McAuliffe had travelled to the Brighton and Hove Albion match to see his beloved Aston Villa, who he has supported since he was a boy.

When Villa star Jack Grealish scored a last-gasp equaliser, he set off a blue flare in the stadium.

But the 51-year-old was spotted on CCTV taking the item out of his pocket and dropping it on the floor.

At Brighton Magistrates' Court McAuliffe claimed he had been goaded by young men to set off the flare.

He said he originally bought the flare to remember his father, who was also a lifelong Villa fan, to commemorate the anniversary of his death.

But at an away game at Leicester he did not find an appropriate opportunity to let it off outside the stadium.

He then set off the flare in the emotion of the equaliser against Albion.

But McAuliffe, of The Ridgeway, Redditch, appeared in court and admitted possessing a firework or flare at a sporting event.

Magistrates were told he had a public order conviction for abusing a steward at a previous match.

Martina Sherlock, prosecuting, said he was spotted wearing a beanie hat by CCTV operators.

He took out the flare, set it off, and put it on the floor next to him.

McAuliffe then moved towards an exit, but was stopped by stewards and arrested.

Alison Reeby, defending, said McAuliffe is self-employed as a carpenter and has attended Villa games with family and friends.

He wanted a fitting way to remember his father, but admitted he was goaded into setting it off at the Brighton game.

Magistrate Mark Durrell imposed a three-year banning order, which will prevent McAuliffe from attending Villa home matches, or being anywhere near stadiums on away days.

McAuliffe must also pay a £230 fine, with £85 costs and a £32 surcharge.