Tuesday 15 October 2019

Police charge a 27-year-old man after he attacks Jack Grealish as Aston Villa legend Paul McGrath gives his reaction

Jack Grealish is struck by a pitch invader early in the first-half. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Jack Grealish is struck by a pitch invader early in the first-half. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

A 27-year-old man has been charged with invading the pitch and assaulting Jack Grealish during Sunday's local derby between Birmingham and Aston Villa, West Midlands Police said.

Paul Mitchell has been charged with invading the pitch and assault during the match between Birmingham City and Aston Villa. He was remanded in custody and is due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Grealish responded to the incident in a dignified manner and then went on to score Villa's winner in a heated local derby, as they maintained their push for promotion back to the Premier League.

Yet it was the incident with Grealish that dominated the post match analysis, with Aston Villa boss Dean Smith labelling the fan who went on to the pitch a "mindless moron" while Birmingham manager Garry Monk called for the strongest punishment.

ipanews_2a222adb-4305-4577-be6b-dfe16339ba32_embedded241689126
Aston Villa's Jack Grealish will be hoping to go one better than last year's Championship play-off final defeat to Fulham. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

"Security should be better, it's why we kick off at 12pm on a Sunday to keep them out of the pub," said Smith.

"Unfortunately some mindless moron has gone on the pitch and attacked Jack and then you have 15,000 idiots clapping him as well which doesn't help.

"It's disgraceful, we have to educate society a little bit.

"He is a mature lad, has matured an awful lot and the way he handled the whole thing was excellent. The only way to answer that was to score the winner, which he did.

"We didn't talk about it (at half-time), his mind was totally on the game and I didn't want to distract him.

"The players' safety is paramount, they are going on to the pitch to entertain, that's their job. I'm all for local rivalry but there has to be a line drawn after this.

"I'd like to think most of the fans know it's wrong. As people we have to make sure it doesn't happen.

"I'm very proud with the way he handled it. He gets on with things. He is a terrific lad and terrific footballer."

This was the reaction of Villa legend Paul McGrath following an incident that shocked the football family:

Online Editors

The Left Wing: Welcome to Irish rugby's biggest week - is an upset on the cards?

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport