Watch: Birmingham City fan arrested after attacking Aston Villa's Jack GrealishSun, Mar 10 2019
A Birmingham City fan is being held in custody by West Midlands Police after attacking Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish during this afternoon’s second city derby.
The man ran onto the field in the tenth minute of the match at St Andrew’s and punched the former England under-21 star from behind, knocking him to the ground.
Police has since confirmed that a 27-year-old man was apprehended and arrested on "suspicion of encroachment onto the pitch and assault and remains in police custody for questioning.”
It was one of four arrests during a turbulent day off the pitch for suspect assault and violent disorder offences.
"An absolute disgrace!"— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) March 10, 2019
A fan has run onto the field and attacked Jack Grealish from behind. pic.twitter.com/PI1Wf3qXfP
Grealish had the last laugh, however, as he struck the only goal of the game midway through the second half, his second in two games, as Villa moved up to ninth in the table.
"An attack on a player is completely unacceptable and outrageous,” said match commander, Superintendent Nick Rowe.
"The vast majority of people were well behaved but unfortunately the occasion has been marred by this.
"We currently have a man in custody for questioning and will be working with Birmingham City Football Club as we fully investigate what happened."
Birmingham released a statement condemning the fan’s actions and apologising to ‘Birmingham lad’ Grealish.
The statement 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 club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.
“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this – there are no excuses.
“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”