Birmingham City fan that punched Aston Villa's Jack Grealish claims he 'did it as a joke'

Birmingham City v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship

Sunday's Second City derby between Birmingham City and Aston Villa was marred by shocking scenes involving Jack Grealish.

Less than 15 minutes into the feisty match, a Blues 'fan' ran onto the pitch and punched the Villa midfielder in the back of the head, causing him to fall to the floor. 

Chaos ensued as Grealish's teammates waded in to try and protect him before the disgraced invader was led off the pitch to a few cheers from other home supporters. 

These kinds of actions are rarely seen on a football pitch and unsurprisingly caused an awful lot of fallout. 

Pundits and fans alike have been arguing over what action should be taken, both against the individual and the club. 

It's not yet known if the FA will choose to punish Birmingham, but the Midlands side released a statement following the match. 

"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," it read. 

"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."

The man, who has been named as 27-year-old Paul Mitchell, was then taken into custody by police the same day.

Less than 24 hours later, he appeared in court and pleaded guilty to charges of assault and invading the pitch.

Birmingham City v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship

During the court hearing, lawyers read out statements from both the prosecutor and the defendant.

According to reports from the Mirror, details about the incident were discussed in more detail.

"Mitchell claims he was not intoxicated and was with his father and did it as a joke," prosecutor Mr. Purser said, per the Mirror's report. 

"He did say he was remorseful." 

Birmingham City v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship

On top of announcing the defendant's motives as 'a joke', lawyers also read out a statement from Grealish and claimed that the individual called the player a 'n**' in the aftermath of the incident. 

"Jack Grealish was shocked and scared because if this person was brazen enough to get onto the pitch, what else could he do?" it began.

"He didn’t know person who assaulted him and didn’t antagonise Birmingham City supporters. It could have been worse had the person had a weapon.

Birmingham City v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship

"It was an unprovoked assault on someone doing his work. There was pain, discomfort and shock."

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