Paul Mitchell, the Birmingham City fan who attacked Aston Villa star Jack Grealish has been sentenced to 14 weeks in prison and handed a 10-year ban from football matches.
Paul Mitchell, of Rubery, Worcestershire, pleaded guilty to pitch invasion and assaultafter punching Aston Villa midfielder Grealish.
The 27-year-old was also ordered to pay £350 in fines and is prohibited from attending games in the United Kingdom for the next decade.
In a statement read into the court record by Purser, the Aston Villa captain said: “I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident. It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”
The Football Association has resolved to work with other authorities in order to provide greater protection for players and match officials.
“This weekend a line has been crossed in terms of fan behaviour,” an FA spokesperson said in a statement.
“On Sunday we saw two separate incidents, at Birmingham City and Arsenal, of individuals entering the field of play and assaulting players.
“Not only is it an offence to enter the pitch, which could result in a club ban and criminalcharges for the individual, but italso puts the safety of the players at risk.
“This is entirely unacceptable and we strongly condemn both incidents.
“We will be working with the clubs, the leagues and the police to discuss what collectively needs to be done to protect players and officials on the pitch.
“In addition, we have written to both Birmingham City and Arsenal to seek their observations to examine the security measures they had in place.”
EARLIER: Aston Villa player viciously attacked by Birmingham fan, scores game-winning goal
What started out as a sickening incident turned into a beautiful one, after Jack Grealish was first attacked by a fan during a game, then responded by scoring a beautiful game-winning goal.
In the first half of a rivalry game between Aston Villa and Birmingham in the English Championship (the level just below the Premier League), Villa’s Grealish was sucker punched by a Birmingham fan who ran onto the field and snuck up behind him.
Grealish’s teammates, Birmingham City players and security quickly surrounded the fan, who was escorted off the field and arrested. Grealish admirably kept calm after the incident, and received love from members of both teams for having to endure what he did.
Here was the attack:
There were shocking scenes at Birmingham v. Aston Villa today as a pitch invader ran on and punched Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. pic.twitter.com/aIYHcNKJfK
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) March 10, 2019
Grealish then got his revenge in the second half, when he scored a left-footed goal to give Villa a 1-0 lead away from home.
Jack Grealish revenge goal with bonus someone getting hauled away by police pic.twitter.com/Q9j99l9xcv
— Los (@RichHomieChapo) March 10, 2019
Villa would hold on to the lead and win the game, 1-0.
After the game, Birmingham City issued a statement
“Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in this afternoon’s derby match.
“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. The Club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.
“The Club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.
“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this – there are no excuses.
“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”