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Aston Villa star Jack Grealish attacked by pitch invader during Second City Derby

By Matt Maher | Birmingham | Aston Villa | Published:

Villa's Jack Grealish was attacked by a supporter amid disgraceful scenes in Sunday's Second City derby.

A fan attacks Aston Villa's Jack Grealish

The 23-year-old was knocked to the ground in the 10th minute by a fan who emerged from the Tilton End at St Andrew's.

That sparked a melee which ended with the supporter being escorted off the field by security staff.

Grealish, captaining his boyhood club, had earlier been victim to the first foul of the afternoon, for which Blues midfielder Maikel Kieftenbeld received a booking.

West Midlands Police confirmed that the invader has been arrested.

Grealish appeared unhurt and was comforted by team-mates and opponents.

A fan attacks Aston Villa's Jack Grealish

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Birmingham City released a statement after the game, which said the player would be banned for life: "Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in this afternoon’s derby match.

"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.

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"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."

'Absolutely disgraceful'

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville called on the authorities to throw the book at Birmingham, tweeting: “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 !”

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice was quick to react to the incident, tweeting: “Absolutely disgraceful what just happened to Jack Grealish”.

Brighton defender Shane Duffy added: “That is a disgrace.”

In a statement, the EFL said that it's an incident no player should have to deal with.

"“It’s a situation no player should ever be faced with." Read the statement.

“In all circumstances the playing surface is for players, not supporters and those playing in the game must be able to do so safe in the knowledge they will not be subjected to this type of behaviour.

“Whilst this incident falls within the remit of the Football Association, we will work with all the relevant parties to address the issue of player and match officials safety on the pitch and ensure the appropriate action is taken.”

There also appeared to be angry clashes between fans before the game at St Andrew’s.

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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