A Macclesfield Town FC supporter has been banned from watching football for the next three years after he was caught with a flare at a derby game.
Oliver Bateman, 27, is said to have ignited the pyrotechnic before his pal threw it onto the pitch during a game at Salford City FC in November 2019.
Manchester Magistrates Court heard at the time of kick off, a dedicated football officer spotted a blue smoke bomb being set off.
Minutes later, the officer spotted another blue flare which was lit, then thrown onto the pitch whilst the footballers were playing.
The flare was thrown onto the pitch by another member of the group, Jordan Thomas, 21, from where the group were sat - behind the Macclesfield goal posts.
Bateman, who is in the RAF, was later identified on CCTV footage the person responsible for igniting the flare, and ejected from the stadium, the court heard.
He admitted being in possession of a blue signal flare at a designated sporting event.
Bateman, of RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire, was handed a football banning order which will last for three years, and was fined £321 and ordered to pay court costs of £85.
His ban comes just 48 hours after Macclesfield Town FC were subject to a winding up order over unpaid debts of half a million pounds.
Prosecutor, Laura Peers, told the court the offence occurred during a League Two game between Macclesfield FC and Salford City FC on November 23, last year.
The game, which was held at the Peninsula Stadium in Salford, was attended by 2,500 supporters, including 661 Macclesfield fans.
"Throughout the match police officers were deployed at the event," she said.
"PC Clarke, a dedicated football officer was at the game. During the fixture the supporters from Macclesfield were sat behind the goal.
"At 3pm, PC Clarke became aware of a blue smoke bomb being set off and he attended the control room to view the CCTV.
"He identified the defendant as being the individual responsible for igniting the flare.
"A second smoke bomb can then be seen being lighted and thrown on the pitch."
Bateman's co-defendant, Jordan Thomas, was identified as being the person responsible for throwing the pyrotechnics onto the pitch.
He received a football banning order of five years and a fine of £200 during a previous court hearing earlier this year.
Thomas was also removed from the stadium and said: "no pyro , no party," as he was led away.
Representing himself, Bateman accepted he had been in possession of the flare, but said he was not responsible for igniting it.
"I said in my police interview it was already ignited and that I only picked it up for three or five seconds," he told the court.
"For the three of five seconds it was in my hand, a three to five year banning order is quite a long time."
A football banning officer for GMP recommended that Bateman be made subject to a banning order, following the offence.
"These sorts of incidents can act as blue touch paper for further incidents," he told the court.
"Football clubs aim to be family clubs and encourage young people and families into a stadium with a safe environment.
"The issuing of a football banning order will act as deterrent to other who have seen this behaviour and think it is acceptable."
Although fans are still unable to attend football matches in person, the banning order came into effect on Thursday, and will last until September 2023.
The order states that Bateman must not go into any premises for the purposes of attending a football match that is relegated by the FA.
He must not enter the premises of Moss Rose Ground when Macclesfield Town FC are playing four hours before or after kick off.
On any day Macclesfield Town FC are playing away from home, Bateman is banned from entering the city where it is being played for four hours before and after the game.
Bateman is also prohibited from attending England games, or any city where the senior men's team are playing eight hours before or after a game.