Chris Kirkland calls for action on pitch invaders and opens up on his own assault

'Super proud of Jack Grealish reaction' following his assault on Sunday, said Kirkland

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Chris Kirkland discusses his own assault while playing for Sheffield Wednesday

Chris Kirkland says he was left in tears after a fan assaulted him during a match in 2012 and called for pitch invaders to be stopped, "before something really serious happens".

Kirkland, playing for Sheffield Wednesday at the time, needed treatment after a Leeds fan celebrated his team's equaliser in a Championship match by running on to the field and shoving the goalkeeper in the face.

The fan received a 16-week jail sentence and was banned from football for six years after pleading guilty to assault and entering the field

Kirkland said he was in tears "shaking in the dressing room" after the incident, before returning home to his daughter, who jumped on her father "crying her eyes out".

On Sunday, Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish was punched from behind in the Second City derby win against Birmingham. The pitch invader has subsequently been jailed for 14 weeks.

In an interview with Sky Sports News, Kirkland revealed Sunday's assault brought back bad memories for his family: "I took my daughter to Liverpool and she got it up on her phone before I'd seen it.

"She went chalk white - she was shocked by what she was seeing.

"That is worse than the attack on me that is a proper punch. I don't know what Jack's going through. When it happened to me I was shocked. It wasn't until after the final whistle that it hit me."

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Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish was attacked on Sunday

Grealish, who scored the winner on Sunday, said it was the "best day of my life", brushing off the impact of the assault.

Kirkland said he was "super proud" of Grealish's response to the incident and although he feels more should be done, admitted there is no clear solution to the growing problem.

He added: "I don't get why people go to a game and do that. It's just incredible. The FA and the clubs - the clubs in particularly - have to do something.

"We've got to try and stop it before something really, really serious happens.

"The fans that applauded him off the pitch [at Birmingham vs Villa] they deserve banning for me. They should be banned as well.

"Possibly we charge the club themselves. But would that stop the mindless idiots doing it? I don't think you will.

"What example does fencing set to kids? You take your young kids to a game and you're behind a fence - that is not right. That can't happen.

"When you do that you should never go to a game again. If you're going to a game with the intention to do something, you shouldn't be there."

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