Birmingham City fan Paul Mitchell, who assaulted Aston Villas Jack Grealish during Sundays derby match, has been sentenced to 14 weeks in prison
Birmingham City fan Paul Mitchell, who assaulted Aston Villas Jack Grealish during Sundays derby match, has been sentenced to 14 weeks in prison and given a 10-year football banning order.
Mitchell appeared Birmingham magistrates court on Monday after being remanded in custody overnight and pleaded guilty to assault.
Prosecutor Jonathan Purser told the court that 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 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.
Earlier Mitchells solicitor Vaughn Whistance had told the court: He cannot explain what came over him yesterday morning. His initial foolish intention was to just go onto the pitch and whip up the crowd.
The minister of sport and the head of the players body condemned the assault and the recent spate of football violence. In a second incident on Sunday, a supporter went on to the pitch during Arsenals home game against Manchester United and shoved the visitors centre-back Chris Smalling. The Metropolitan police said on Monday that Gary Cooper, 30, had been charged with common assault and going on to the playing area. He was released on bail to appear at Highbury Corner magistrates court on 26 March.
The Professional Footballers Association chief executive, Gordon Taylor, said he games authorities must consider points deductions and ground closures in order to put a lid on the bad behaviour of supporters.
Taylor comments came in the wake of the attacks on Grealish and Manchester Uniteds Chris Smalling on Sunday the latest in a long line of incidents this season, including racist abuse and anti-semitic chants as well as fighting among rival fans.
Taylor said the attack on Grealish was disgraceful and cowardly and called on the FA to work with the government, police and stewards to help stamp out such incidents. We have seen an increase in such behaviour at clubs this season, he added. Its been racist abuse, its been anti-semitism and now its real fear for the safety of players.
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