A SAINTS fan who used to work in the club's shop has been banned from football matches after shouting homophobic abuse at Brighton fans.

Former Southampton FC retail worker Jonathan Coombs, 28, shouted "does your boyfriend know you’re here" and other foul-mouthed abuse at Brighton and Hove Albion fans, as he watched his team play away at at the American Express Community Stadium.

He was arrested at the ground by police for a public order offence.

District Judge Tessa Szagun said she banned Coombs from football matches for three years to "prevent him from causing violent disorder at football matches".

Brighton Magistrates Court heard the father-of-one yelled the obscenities at the game which saw the Seagulls draw 1-1 with Saints on Sunday October 29.

In mitigation, Josie Sonessa, said the Coombs had resigned from his job at the Southampton club store at St Mary’s Stadium after his arrest was made public.

She told the court: “It was a brief incident he fully accepted in interview. He set out his remorse and said he had been under the influence of alcohol.

“It was very much a one off and he told me his job at the Southampton FC club store was lost as a result.

“In normal circumstances he would go to games with mum and dad, but on this occasion he went with his step brother and had been drinking for a significant period that day.

“His family are season ticket holders and would not dream of engaging in this conduct.

“He has a young daughter, aged two, and he is very much a family man, and is deeply embarrassed and apologises for his conduct."

Coombs of Olive Road, Southampton, pleaded guilty to using threatening or abusive words likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Judge Tessa Szagun handed down a football banning order for three years.

It means Coombs is banned from all football stadia anywhere in the UK three hours before a regulated match and three hours after.

He will have to surrender his passport to the police before any UK team plays abroad.

He will also be made to pay £120 in fines, £30 victim surcharge and £85 in costs.

A Brighton and Hove Albion FC spokesman said: “We are pleased that with the help of the Premier League and other football authorities, organisations such as Stonewall and Kick It Out, the media and our fellow Premier League clubs that the message is getting through that football will not tolerate any forms of homophobia.

“But while we have seen such a positive change in our debut season in the Premier League, sadly there are still some isolated incidents such as this one, which will require action.

"We would remind all supporters that football will not tolerate any form of anti-social or abusive language or behaviour, towards players, officials or other supporters.”

The sentencing comes in the week six people were arrested following the Albion clash with Crystal Palace on Tuesday.