Man charged with assault on Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish
A man has been charged with invading the pitch during Aston Villa’s Second City derby match against Birmingham and assaulting captain Jack Grealish.
Paul Mitchell, 27, is accused of attacking the player less than 10 minutes into the Championship clash at Birmingham’s St Andrew’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The midfielder, 23, was allegedly assaulted from behind as he stood in the Birmingham penalty area.
Stewards intervened and the suspect was led off the pitch.
West Midlands Police said Mitchell, of Rubery, will appear before Birmingham Magistrates Court on Monday.
Despite the incident Grealish went on to score the only goal of the game, lifting Villa to a 1-0 victory.
He later said it was “best day of his life”, writing on Instagram: “The cream always rises.”
Villa manager Dean Smith said Grealish was “okay” after the incident, but was critical of the security arrangements at the ground.
“It shouldn’t happen, the security should have been better,” he told Sky Sports Football.
Players’ body the Professional Footballers’ Association has called for a full inquiry into the incident.
It was one of two pitch invasions at major football matches on Sunday afternoon, the other taking place during Manchester United’s clash against Arsenal.
A man was arrested on suspicion of common assault and pitch invasion after a spectator ran onto the pitch at the Emirates Stadium before pushing United and England defender Chris Smalling.
The Metropolitan Police said a man was taken into custody at a north London police station.
Arsenal said the culprit “will be banned from Arsenal matches home and away”.