A 44-year-old man handed a seven-year football banning order after the Watford and Luton clash that erupted into violence several years ago, has had the ban reduced by a year.

Sporting a red jacket with the Hornets logo on the left breast pocket Vincent O’Malley asked for the order, which prevents him watching Watford at home or away and includes other restrictions, to be lifted.

However, the appeal at St Albans Crown Court nearly never got off the ground when the crown produced an email from head of security at Watford FC Glyn Evans, saying that even if the court lifted the ban O’Malley was not welcome at Vicarage Road.

The email said: “If Mr O’Malley is successful in his application to rescind his banning order we won’t consider lifting his lifetime ban, as having convictions of criminal offences after the ban, he remains of a character the club does not wish to be associated with.”

Nevertheless, O’Malley, who represented himself despite the hindrance of a pronounced stutter, decided to proceed with the appeal.

O’Malley had been spotted on CCTV kicking out at an opposition fan during a pitch invasion at Vicarage Road before the start of an evening game against arch rivals Luton Town, on September 10, 2002.

He pleaded guilty to violent disorder and as well as a 12-month prison sentence, received the banning order, which also includes conditions that he must surrender his passport for England games and sign on at Watford Police Station.

O’Malley said the ban caused considerable difficulties as he is not allowed in the area of the Vicarage and Central wards an hour before and after Watford home games.

His Woodford Road, Watford home is inside the boundary of the prohibited area, which technically puts him in breach of the order even if he does not set a foot outside his front door.

All of O’Malley’s friends have had their bans lifted after making similar applications, but David Chrimes, for the crown, said the applicant’s behaviour since the ban was imposed must be considered.

Mr Chrimes told the court O’Malley had also received a 12-month conditional discharge for a public order offence for abusing a Steward at the club in 1999.

Shortly after release from prison for violent disorder he breached the banning order by failing to surrender his passport, not signing on at a police station during England away internationals and was found in the prohibited area outside Vicarage Road stadium before a Watford home game.

O’Malley has now left his passport with Watford police to ensure there are no problems during England internationals and told the court “I don’t support England anyway”.

He was released from prison from a three-year prison sentence for dealing cocaine in May and committed a public order offence during a stop search, by the same officer, who arrested him in that case.

O’Malley said the officer had been rude to him because of their previous association.

He said although Watford won’t allow him back he would like the order lifted as his partner was having a baby in August and he would not be able to take the child out for a walk if the Hornets are playing at home.

Reducing the order to now run until December this year Judge Catterson said Watford FC’s decision not to let him back had assisted his application.

She said: “As disappointed as Mr O’Malley may be from Watford FC’s stance on his lifetime ban it has to a large extent assisted his application and I am prepared to curtail the ban until December, 2009.”

She added: “You are still subject to the order, but it has been reduced by a year.”