Sunday’s Midlands derby between Birmingham City and Aston Villa was marred by the disgraceful actions of one ‘fan’, who now finds himself in custody.
The man, who was wearing a Birmingham City jacket, swung an arm at Jack Grealish’s face while the Villa midfielder had his back turned.
The incident has shocked football fans and made headlines across the world. Birmingham have already confirmed that the fan in question will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. They have also issued an apology to Grealish, who went on to score the winning goal for the visitors in the 67th minute.
“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,” the statement reads.
"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.”
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Both the Football Association and EFL have also strongly condemned the incident, while West Midlands Police are also likely to take action against the perpetrator after arresting him.
If you haven’t seen the shocking incident yet, watch it here…
Leading pundit Gary Neville, who was working for Sky Sports on Sunday afternoon, took to Twitter shortly after the incident and called for Birmingham City to be severely punished.
“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!“ the former Manchester United captain tweeted.
Neville then backed up his comments live on air, suggesting the FA need to make an example of Birmingham City in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.
“You think of the stadiums you come to, this one here (the Emirates) is probably one of the best, and I think that really does need punishing,” he added.
“It's not the club's fault in some ways because, the village idiot you can't stop him doing what he's going to do. But as a deterrent for the future there has to be a huge punishment for Birmingham City for that.
“Because in the future if any fan thinks they can just get a five-match ban or a season ban... We've seen horrific incidents in other sports where fans have been attacked more seriously than that.
“If that comes into football we'll have fences around the ground again.
“I think that's a really serious problem that needs nipping in the bud and the club needs to take a huge punishment.”
However, Neville’s fellow Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness disagreed that Birmingham should be punished because of the actions of one person.
“You can’t stop that,” Souness said. “How can you punish the club? How can you control every single supporter that comes into the stadium?
“This idiot, [he was thinking] ‘I’m not interested in the reputation of Birmingham. I’m going to do it because it’ll make me look like a proper man’.”
Watch the debate here…
Who’s speaking sense here: Neville or Souness? Have your say below.News Now - Sport News