Birmingham’s Championship match at home to rivals Aston Villa (7:00 a.m. ET, ESPN+) was marred by disgraceful scenes early in the first half as a supporter ran on to the pitch and threw a punch at the back of Jack Grealish’s head.
In extraordinary scenes at St. Andrews, the match was barely 10 minutes old when a fan came on to the field of play and approached Grealish, the Villa midfielder.
The fan then swung a punch from behind and caught Grealish, who fell to the ground. A steward then managed to restrain the supporter and marched him off the pitch. West Midlands police later confirmed the supporter had been arrested.
Grealish did not require treatment and was able to resume play in the second city derby, with Aston Villa starting the day in 14th place and Birmingham sitting 10th, five points off the playoffs.
Sunday’s act of violence was not the first time the Midlands derby had witnessed a flash point. In 2002, a fan was jailed for four months after entering the field of play and taunting Peter Enckelman, the Aston Villa goalkeeper who had conceded a goal in Birmingham’s 3-0 victory at St. Andrews.
Michael Harper, 26, from Solihull, was sentenced at Birmingham Magistrates Court after admitting running on to the pitch before the clash with Enckelman.