Birmingham City Fan Jailed For Attacking Player On Pitch

A Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 weeks for attacking Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish during the second city derby.

Paul Mitchell, 27, ran on to the pitch and hit Grealish from behind about 10 minutes into Sunday’s game.

Mitchell, admitted assault and encroachment on to the pitch at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court earlier.

He “cannot explain what came over him yesterday morning”, his solicitor said.

“His initial foolish intention was to just go on to the pitch and whip up the crowd,” said Vaughn Whistance, defending.

Mitchell, was also ordered to pay £350 in fines and costs and has been banned from attending any football matches in the UK for 10 years.

The £350 includes £100 in compensation for Grealish’s “pain, discomfort and shock”.

The Villa midfielder was able to continue with the game at St Andrew’s and went on to score the winning goal in the 67th minute.

In a statement read to magistrates by prosecutors, Grealish said: “It was a surprise to know how easy it was for a supporter to run on to the pitch. I feel shocked and worried. It could have been worse if he had a weapon.”

Birmingham City apologised to both Grealish and Villa immediately after the game and said Mitchell had been banned from St Andrew’s for life. He has also been banned from away games.

The club said there were “no excuses” for his behaviour, which “has no place in football”.

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