Football thugs have caused more trouble for Aston Villa and Birmingham City matches this year, with an increase in the number of supporters arrested by police.

Villa fans were arrested 97 times in the 2007-8 season, up from 76 arrests the year before. This included 29 arrests for public disorder and five for violent disorder.

There were 99 arrests of Blues fans, up from 93 last season. These included 36 arrests for public disorder and 31 for violent disorder.

The figures include arrests of fans identified by police as supporters of the Birmingham clubs at home or away matches.

But other Midlands clubs have had a fall in the number of incidents. Police arrested 55 Coventry fans, down from 66 last season, and 33 West Bromwich Albion fans, down from 38.

They also arrested 64 Wolverhampton Wanderers fans, down from 76 last year.

The figures were published by the Home Office in a bid to demonstrate that police are cracking down on football hooligans.

But Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker also praised supporters, saying only a tiny minority were breaking the law.

Just 0.01 per cent of 37 million supporters attending matches in England and Wales in the last year were arrested for football-related violence, he said. He added: “I am delighted that the police, the clubs and the fans are working together to help clamp down on football violence in and out of the grounds.

“Football banning orders have proved to be a great success - 94 per cent of individuals whose banning order has expired have been assessed by police as no longer posing a risk of football disorder.”

A total of 82 Villa fans and 76 Blues fans have received banning orders keeping them out of football grounds, following bad behaviour in the past.

Across the country, 3,842 arrests were made for football-related offences at domestic and international matches in England and Wales.Arrests for racist chanting were down 43 per cent to 23, the lowest level on record. There were 351 arrests for violent disorder. The club with the worst record was Manchester United, with 248 arrests, followed by Leeds (156) and Chelsea (106).