The Malta Independent 19 March 2019, Tuesday

Watch: Aston Villa player punched by fan in derby win at Birmingham City

Sunday, 10 March 2019, 16:59 Last update: about 8 days ago

Birmingham City said a supporter will be banned from St Andrew’s for life after he attacked Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish during the Birmingham derby, The Guardian reports.

The incident occurred less than 10 minutes into the game when Grealish was in the Birmingham penalty area and a spectator in a flat cap ran on to the field and threw a punch from behind the visiting captain, striking him on the side of the head.

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The intruder was quickly restrained by stewards as several other Villa players rushed in to confront him. He was led away by police, blowing kisses to the crowd as he left, and was later arrested.

 “Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa for an incident in this afternoon’s derby match,” a club statement said. “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.”

Grealish went on to score the winning goal in the 67th minute of the game, and was booked for his celebrations with the away fans. “Best day of my life. To come here, captain Aston Villa and score the winner is what dreams are made of, especially for me as a Villa fan,” he said.

“I was just unaware at the time, I was walking into position and then just felt a whack around the side of the face,” Grealish said about the incident. “Obviously there’s rivalry and stuff in football but I don’t think there’s any place for that really. I just tried to get on with my job. To score the winner was unbelievable, after what happened in the first half I think it was set up for it.”

A post on the West Midlands Police Twitter feed read: “ARREST: Following the incident on the pitch involving an attack on an Aston Villa player; a man has been arrested and en route to a custody block. Further details to follow.”

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