A Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 weeks and banned from attending any football matches in the UK for 10 years for attacking Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish during the second city derby.
Paul Mitchell, of Cock Hill Lane, Rubery, ran on to the pitch and punched the footballer in the head during the first half of the local derby at St Andrews yesterday afternoon.
The 27, admitted assault and invading the pitch at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court earlier.
A spokesperson for Birmingham City Football Club said: “The Club can confirm that Mr Mitchell is banned from our home ground, the St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium, for life. And nor will he have access to purchase tickets for away games involving Birmingham City Football Club, or have tickets purchased on his behalf.
Birmingham City FC rejects all forms of anti-social behaviour. We will not tolerate the kind of incidents we have seen during and since Sunday’s derby fixture against Aston Villa Football Club.”
The BBC reported that he was also ordered to pay £350.
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.
Match commander, Superintendent Nick Rowe, said: “An attack on a player is completely unacceptable and outrageous.
“The vast majority of people were well behaved but unfortunately the occasion has been marred by this.
There were four arrests for suspected assault or violent disorder offences in total.
According to Birmingham Live, he previously told his solicitor how he wasn’t intoxicated and sprinted onto the pitch and punched Jack Grealish “as a joke”.
A small number of objects were thrown at officers outside the ground following the game but no-one was injured and enquiries are on-going.
A steward was spoken to in the aftermath of the goal but no offence has been reported at this stage; while the force will also be reviewing complaints around offensive social media posts.