A British soccer fan ran out onto the field Saturday and punched a player in the back of the head, before being tackled and dragged off the field.
The Birmingham City fan ran out on the field early in the game between Birmingham City and Aston Villa. Before anyone was quite aware of what was going on, the fan ran up behind Grealish and took a swing at him connecting with the back of his head, Bleacher Report wrote.
The fan was immediately surrounded and knocked to the ground by Grealish’s teammates and dragged off the field.
Shocking scenes at Birmingham Villa game. Jack Grealish attacked on the pitch. pic.twitter.com/UailN7pwyY
— Michael O'Donoghue (@michaelod1888) March 10, 2019
Police later identified the attacker as Paul Mitchell, a young father of one and husband from Birmingham. The league is considering a lifetime ban for the the fan, as the police prepare charges.
Grealish got the last laugh on Birmingham fans, though, because he scored the only goal to win the game in the Second City derby at St Andrew’s.
Birmingham released a statement excoriating the fan and announcing support of the rival team’s player:
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 Football Club.
West Midlands Police announced the arrest of the attacker but did not yet have a full list of charges.
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. pic.twitter.com/fed9KrHBgl
— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) March 10, 2019
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.