Birmingham City fan who assaulted Jack Grealish is jailed for 14 weeks

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.

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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.

Jack Grealish would go on to score the winner for Aston Villa in a 1-0 win over Birmingham City. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

From that point of view, we had a meeting just the other week with the minister for sport [Mims Davies] about engaging on this issue between the police and the stewards, which is crucial, and the responsibility of clubs about trying to get the right balance between educating supporters but also having sanctions to make sure we put a lid on it because weve been down this road before and we dont want to go there again and see the game threatened.

When asked about what sanctions could be implemented, Taylor said: Theres a combination you can consider fines, ground closures, playing games behind closed doors and points deductions. Every case needs to be looked at on its merits but it has to be a job for the national association.

Quick guide

Timeline: a season of supporter shame

Aston Villa v Preston,2 Oct 2018

A Villa employee was hit by a cabbage thrown at the then-manager Steve Bruce by his own sides fans during a 3-3 draw.

Arsenal v Tottenham,2 Dec 2018

A Tottenham fan threw a banana skin at Arsenals Patrick Aubemayang after the strikers goal in the northLondon derby at the Emirates. The fan was fined and handed a four-year banning order by magistrates.

Chelsea v Man City,8Dec 2018

A Chelsea fan was interviewed by police under caution after allegedly hurling racist abuse at Citys Raheems Sterling.

Hibernian v Celtic,2 Mar 2019

A glass bottle was thrown from the Hibernian support as the Celtic winger Scott Sinclair prepared to take a corner during a cup match.

Sheff Wed v Sheff Utd,4 Mar 2019

The visiting sides Jack OConnell had a coin and a plastic bottle thrownat him as he prepared to takea throw-in.

Hibernian v Rangers,8 Mar 2019

Rangers James Tavernier was confronted by a man who emerged from the same stand as the bottle was thrown against Celtic. Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster refused to rule out closingparts of Easter Road.

Birmingham City v Aston Villa, 10 March 2019

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish was assaulted by a fan early in the Birmingham derby. The supporter was arrested and Grealish went on to score the winner in Villa’s 1-0 win.

Arsenal v Manchester United, 10 Mar 2019

Manchester United’s Chris Smalling was approached and shoved by a man shortly after Arsenal scored their second in a 2-0 win. The individual was arrested and Arsenal stated he would be banned from attending any home or away match involving the club.

Photograph: Stuart Wallace/Rex Features

Mims Davies said: The incidents that happened over the weekend were a disgrace. It is right that they are investigated immediately and strong action is taken by the football authorities and clubs. Protecting players safety is of paramount importance and every possible step must be taken to ensure that they are not put at risk.

Birmingham have said that Mitchell would be banned for life from St Andrews. Arsenal have also pledged that the same punishment would be imposed on the pitch invader at the United game.

Alan Shearer said the latest incidents proved that football had a real problem and called on the authorities to stamp it out. There has to be the right message here, he added. Come down like a ton of bricks on Birmingham and punish so-called fans where it hurts, with bans and fines.

Former Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie also backed Shearers calls for action, calling the incident at St Andrews the worst of its kind that he had seen. It could have been someone running on with a knife how are you meant to stop this? he added. Why do we need to wait for that to actually happen before someone gets really hurt?

The Birmingham defender Harlee Dean has condemned the incident. You should never fear for your safety on a football pitch and its disappointing to see, he said. Theres a lot of hate amongst the fans and stuff, which is fine to an extent, but you shouldnt be able to come on the pitch and make contact with a player. Im sure it will be addressed and I just hope its not too serious.

Paul Mitchells lawyer told the court family members had been forced to move out of the Birmingham area after the high-profile incident because of on-line threats. Making an application for the court to withhold Mitchells home address, Vaughn Whistance, his solicitor, told the court: There have been various comments posted on different social media platforms. My clients young family have had to leave their home address to move to outside of Birmingham through fear that they would suffer serious harm or even death.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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