A FOOTBALL hooligan who ran on to the pitch during the second city derby and punched Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has been jailed.
Birmingham City fan Paul Mitchell, 27, disrupted the match at St Andrew’s yesterday when he hit the England midfielder on the jaw.
Despite being assaulted, Grealish went on to score the only goal in the derby as Aston Villa triumphed 1-0 in the Championship clash.
Mitchell pleaded guilty to assault after appearing at Birmingham Magistrates' Court today and also admitted a charge of invading the pitch .
He has been sentenced to 14 weeks in jail and has been given a 10 year football ban, meaning he is unable to attend any matches in the UK until 2029.
The court heard that Mitchell's relatives have had to leave their home due to online threats following his arrest.
His lawyer told Birmingham Magistrates' Court family members had been forced to move out of the Birmingham area after the ‘high-profile’ incident.
Making an application for the court to withhold Mitchell's home address, solicitor Vaughn Whistance told the court: ‘There have been various comments posted on different social media platforms.
‘My client's young family have had to leave their home address to move to outside of Birmingham through fear that they would suffer serious harm or even death.'
However magistrates rejected the application.
Pub worker Mitchell was wearing a grey T-shirt as he appeared in the court.
His solicitor told the court: ‘He cannot explain what came over him yesterday morning. His initial foolish intention was to just go onto the pitch and whip up the crowd.'
Prosecutor Jonathan Purser told the court that Grealish felt lasting pain after the incident but had suffered no substantial injury from a punch to the right side of his jaw.
In a statement read into the court record by Mr Purser, the Aston Villa captain said: ‘I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident.
‘It could have so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.’