Fan who attacked Jack Grealish pleads guilty at Birmingham Magistrates' Court
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 11/03/19 3:45pm
The fan who attacked Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish at Sunday's derby against Birmingham has pleaded guilty to assault and invading the pitch.
Paul Mitchell, 27, of Rubery was arrested and charged after entering the field of play in the early stages of the game at St Andrew's and hitting Grealish around the back of the head and neck.
Mitchell pleaded guilty on both counts and sentence will be passed on Monday afternoon.
His solicitor told Birmingham Magistrates' Court: "He cannot explain what came over him yesterday morning. His initial foolish intention was to just go on to the pitch and whip up the crowd."
Prosecutor Jonathan Purser told the court Grealish felt lasting pain after the incident but had suffered no substantial injury from a punch to the right side of his jaw.
In a statement read into the court record by Mr Purser, the Aston Villa captain said: "I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident. It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon."
Mitchell was dragged off the pitch after being taken to the ground by a combination of Birmingham and Villa players, as well as stewards who followed him on to the pitch.
Birmingham promptly revealed the individual would be banned from their stadium for life and said: "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."
Grealish was able to play on after the attack and went on to score what turned out to be the winning goal as Dean Smith's side prevailed 1-0.