Man charged over Grealish assault

Grealish has the last laugh as Villa run out narrow winners

West Midlands Police have charged a man following the assault of Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish during Sunday's Second City derby against Birmingham City.

With the game just 10 minutes old, a Blues fan somehow evaded stewards and made his way onto the pitch, before swinging a punch at the Villa star.

27-year-old Paul Mitchell was arrested immediately and has now been charged with invading the pitch at St Andrew's and assaulting Grealish - he will appear at Birmingham Magistrates court today.

A statement from police last night read: "We've this evening [Sunday] charged a man with invading the pitch and assaulting Aston Villa player Jack Grealish during the Second City derby.

"Paul Mitchell, aged 27, of Rubery, has been remanded in custody to appear before B'ham Mags Court tomorrow [Monday]."

It's been revealed following the incident that Mitchell is a father of one who is also a well known landlord in the local area. He was restrained by stewards after swinging for Grealish, with players from both sides trying to intervene. Birmingham have handed Mitchell a lifetime ban from the stadium.

A club statement read:

"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."

Villains just four points off top six

Away from the off-field dramas, on the field it was Aston Villa and Grealish in particular who had the last laugh as he scored the only goal of the game to secure his side all three points, drilling the ball home from outside the area in the 67th minute.

The win sees Aston Villa move to 9th in the Championship table, just four points outside the play-offs. Birmingham on the other hand now find themselves a point behind their rivals in 11th, but are still in with an outside chance of breaking into the top six before the season ends in May.

Garry Monk's men currently sit five points behind sixth-placed Derby County and host strugglers Millwall on Wednesday evening in a crunch game at St Andrews.

It has not yet been confirmed whether the club will face further punishment following the incident however, with a points deduction potentially being implemented by the FA in the forthcoming week.

Sadly, this was just the first incident of its kind yesterday, as a man made his way onto the pitch at the Emirates during Arsenal's 2-0 win over Manchester United.

An Arsenal fan has been arrested after he ran onto the field of play and shoved United defender Chris Smalling on Sunday afternoon.

Smalling's team-mate, Ashley Young, said after the match: "It is the third time that a fan has managed to get on the pitch.

"What if they are carrying something? The players will be in danger. It is definitely something that the FA, Premier League and Fifa [need to look at]. It has to be done. Maybe extra stewarding. It is a concern with the one earlier today [Grealish] and the one on Chrissy [Smalling]. Something has to be done.”


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