Birmingham City Fan Paul Mitchell Sentenced To 14 Weeks In Jail For Jack Grealish Attack
A man who ran onto the pitch and punched a player during a football match between Birmingham City and Aston Villa has been jailed for 14 weeks.
27-year-old Paul Mitchell, from Worcestershire, ran onto the pitch during yesterday's derby match and aimed a punch at Villa player Jack Grealish.
As part of his sentence, Mitchell also received a 10-year football banning order and must pay £100 compensation to Grealish, as well as a £150 victim surcharge.
He pleaded guilty to assault and invading the pitch at Birmingham Magistrates' Court earlier in the day. The maximum sentence he could have received was six months imprisonment.
Birmingham fan Mitchell ran onto the turf in the 10th minute of the fixture, which Birmingham won 1 - 0 thanks to a goal from - you've guessed it - Jack Grealish.
Once on the pitch and in full view of the TV cameras, Mitchell aimed a blow at Grealish and struck him on the side of his head. Stewards then quickly arrived on the scene to cart him off to the police.
The court heard a statement from Grealish that said: "Jack Grealish was shocked and scared because if this person was brazen enough to get onto the pitch, what else could he do?
"He didn't know person who assaulted him and didn't antagonise Birmingham City supporters."
The Villa captain continued: "I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident.
"It could have so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon."
The event was one of two significant events yesterday, with another pitch invader entering the field of play during Arsenal's Premier League fixture against Manchester United.
The Football Association issued a statement that referred to both events. It read: "This weekend a line has been crossed in terms of fan behaviour. 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 criminal charges for the individual, but it also 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.
The statement continued: "In addition, we have written to both Birmingham City and Arsenal to seek their observations to examine the security measures they had in place."
Featured Image Credit: PA