Written by: Adam Jones
I’m sure the scenes at St Andrews on Sunday shocked us all. The incident between a Birmingham City hooligan and Jack Grealish is something we thought we wouldn’t see these days in the professional game.
This West Midlands derby is a fierce rivalry, but there are no excuses for what happened today. It’s a disgrace.
This fan should take full responsibility for what he did to Grealish today. Some people on social media have blamed the stewards for allowing the Birmingham City fan to get to the Aston Villa player. However, one moment of innocent distraction can allow this type of thing to happen. These stewards have been harshly viewed on social media by some users in my opinion.
One steward did however disgrace himself later in the game. When Jack Grealish scored, it was inevitable that he was going to celebrate enthusiastically. When the winger jumped into the crowd, he was handled aggressively by one of the Birmingham City stewards. It was live on Sky Sports for all to see. As Grealish was mid celebration, that particular member of security appeared to kick out at him and try to shove him away from the crowd.
If the player was right in the middle of the Aston Villa away support at the time, I would have understood a minor shove from the steward to get Grealish away from the fans. However, the player was just about to go back on to the pitch. Therefore, I feel this use of force by the steward was unacceptable. He appeared to be led away by West Midlands Police as a result of his aggressive actions towards the player.
A section of Birmingham City fans may have cheered, but this was a very small number of people compared to the whole population of the stadium which held thousands and thousands of decent football supporters who did not deserve to witness the awful actions of the thug who attacked the youngster Grealish. The winger dealt very well with the situation considering what had happened.
Many people on Twitter have called for Birmingham City to have a points deduction. Answer this question: why should a whole club have to suffer because of a few stupid individuals? This club has a great following, they bring decent away support and the vast majority of fans are very well behaved. Every fanbase have bad apples within it, we should not take away from the fact that almost all football supporters in this country come to the game and behave an impeccable manner. They just come to see their team and have a good time without breaking the law.
We should not forget that Chris Smalling was also pushed by an Arsenal fan on the same day at the Emirates Stadium. This incident was a less serious one as opposed to the punch that Jack Grealish suffered at the hands of a hug, but it was still a pitch invasion where a player has been affected.
Football hooliganism has prevailed even though it’s arguably less of a problem now than it was a couple of decades ago. It needs to stop altogether and it needs to stop quickly, before it becomes a more serious problem again.