A football fan described as a 'top dog' in an Oxford United hooligan firm' has been handed the longest ever banning order in Oxfordshire.

Patrick Vigilante is believed by police to be one of the key orchestrators behind football violence in Oxford United's South Midlands Hit Squad hooligan gang.

A court has now banned Vigilante, 40, from attending any U's match or England clash for the next four years.

Vigilante, of Bibury Place, Witney, has received three previous banning orders for football violence in the past 16 years.

Police said they have been aware of Vigilante's role in the local hooligan movement since the early 1990s, considering him to command respect from members of the supporters' hooligan firm and may orchestrate fights with rival fans.

Pc Steve Norman, football liaison officer for Oxfordshire, said: "Vigilante is believed to be one of the organisers - one of the top dogs."

Vigilante was arrested following trouble between about 100 Oxford United and York City fans in September last year.

Children and residents were forced to run for cover after bottles were hurled, insults traded and punches thrown, in Merlin Road, Blackbird Leys, before the match.

Dc Huw James, Oxford's football intelligence officer, said: "He has involved himself in football hooliganism now for 15 or 20 years.

"He has built up an association with a number of other hooligans and within that group he has a certain status which enables him to organise or be involved in football disorder."

Dc James added there were up to 50 fans considered to be in the group which Vigilante is believed to have a leading role.

He said: "Vigilante has an influence in Oxford's risk group and if he is there on a given day it will add an extra element to that risk. In effect, we have more concern of disorder on that day.

"There is no doubt that in the supporters risk group a lot of them are, by association, or aspire to be, in the South Midlands Hit Squad, but then deny it exists. Vigilante is very much part of that group."

Police believe the fight was pre-arranged and York City fans were given directions and bus routes by U's hooligans.

Vigilante - formerly known as Patrick Jones - was convicted at Oxford Magistrates' Court last week for a public order offence.

He was given a four-year banning order at Oxford Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Mick Brown, general manager for Oxford United, said: "This is not the type of person we are trying to attract to matches and incidents like this does not improve the image of the game. Thankfully it is a very rare occurrence and we are pleased the court has seen fit to hand out this banning order."

Nine York City fans and five from Oxford United have now been convicted following the trouble.

Jeffrey James, 37, of Flatford Place, Kidlington, and Paul Woodburn, 38, of Brize Norton Road, Minster Lovell, have each been fined £150 for their roles.

Liam Walker, 28, of Cherwell Drive, Kidlington, and George Polichelli, 25, of Poplar Grove, Kennington, are to be sentenced on July 30.

Builder Patrick Vigilante denies police accusations he is a leading Oxford United football hooligan.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail, he said: "Sure, I have been in trouble in the past. But as far as being one of the organisers of football violence, that is ridiculous.

"I find it hard to believe police say this stuff with no evidence. Which fights, where and when do I organise them? If organising trouble was my day job I would be out of work because there hasn't been any trouble for ages."

Vigilante, a director for CV Building Contactors in Banbury Road, Oxford, added he did not believe the clash with York City was prearranged.

He said he was on the fringes of the trouble after walking past the two gangs of rival supporters on the way to the match, but was spotted by police because of his reputation following previous banning orders.

Vigilante also denied the so-called South Midlands Hit Squad hooligan firm existed.

"I've never been a member of any firm. It's strange where they get these things from.

"I laugh about it now, but when you read about it in the papers it affects my children, my wife and my life. It reflects badly on everything I do. I don't get into trouble, I pay my taxes and go to work. I can't believe I'm supposed to be this person who I am reading about," he added.

Vigilante said he had been to watch Oxford United about 10 times in the past two seasons, has never followed England abroad and does not know any football hooligans.

He said: "Nine times out of 10 on a Saturday afternoon I'm outside in my garden or playing golf, so I must be organising it from miles away.

"I've been an Oxford United fan all my life but even after the ban ends I don't think I'll ever go again."

Vigilante's football violence convictions: 1991: A 12-month banning order for a public order offence at a football match 1994: Fined £500 for fighting with Chelsea fans after an FA Cup tie 1996: Fined £200 for threatening a rival supporter 1997: Banned from matches for 18 months after football violence 1999: Admitted causing actual bodily harm to a Stockport County fan after a home match 1999: Banned from Premiership and Football League games for two years 2000: Fined £5,000 after being convicted of fighting rival supporters when England played Scotland.