Football fans have branded the supporter attack on Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish as a “cowardly act” and “beyond expectation on a football pitch”.
The reaction comes after Birmingham City fan Paul Mitchell was jailed for 14 weeks and given a 10-year ban from UK football stadiums for the attack.
The 27-year-old admitted assault and encroachment on the pitch when he appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court today, according to Birmingham Live.
The incident, which happened yesterday when Birmingham took on Aston Villa, prompted shock among the footballing world – a stance echoed by people in Derby city centre today.
Daniel Moss, 31, of Derby, said: “From my point of view, I would never expect to see that on a football pitch. Even though I’m not an Aston Villa or Birmingham City fan, I couldn’t believe what I was watching. I’ve grown up with football in my life and I can’t see why anyone would want to do that, all rivalries aside.”
While Richard Jones, 43, who works in Derby, said: “I am glad that he has appeared in court – the attack was that of a coward.
“I hope that the EFL or the FA make a stand for this as this does not belong on the football pitch, and it definitely isn’t something we should condone in society.”
Yesterday famous faces in the sporting world had their say on the incident via Twitter. here are some tweets:
The club are going have to take a huge punishment for this to act as a deterrent in the future . A Points deduction or Empty stadium for 10 games ! https://t.co/wQtcAUuvnx
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) March 10, 2019
Despicable what happened today at the Villa game, guy should be put in jail. Respect to Grealish for getting back on his feet & scoring the winning goal. Although extremely dumb & cowardly.. that hooligans technique wasn’t bad to be fair 👀
— Chris Eubank Jr (@ChrisEubankJr) March 10, 2019
According to Birmingham Live, Mitchell’s lawyer told the court: ”Not surprisingly, this case has attracted a lot of national interest and I am mindful that a sentence will act as a deterrent today which would fall outside of the guidelines of common assault.
”No true football fans want to see this sort of behaviour and, thankfully, is very rare.
”This is a 27-year-old man who has come to the court before on a non-violent offence.
”This man will do as the court will tell him to. He’s a family man, they’re at the back at court. They are probably shocked and disgusted at his behaviour like those watching the unpleasant incident.”