ASTON VILLA star Jack Grealish was shockingly PUNCHED by a Birmingham fan who ran onto the pitch in the Second City derby at St Andrew’s.
The Championship game had not even reached the 10-minute mark when Grealish was assaulted.
Players from both teams as well as a steward then ran towards the yob and managed to get him off the pitch.
The man shockingly saluted his actions as he was being led away and fans were even heard CHEERING him off.
Grealish, 23, is a Villa youth product and was captaining the side in the fiercely-contested derby game.
The toxic atmosphere was evident in the early stages of the fiery clash when Blues midfielder Maikel Kieftenbeld was booked for a foul on Grealish.
But one supporter took things totally too far, and is sure to have incurred a heavy penalty for the club he is supposed to support.
West Midlands Police have confirmed the man has been arrested.
They tweeted: “Following the incident on the pitch involving an attack on an Aston Villa player; a man has been arrested and en route to a custody block.”
Fans have since taken to social media to praise Grealish for not reacting to being assaulted.
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Some believe the footballer, who was a transfer target for Spurs last summer, should “sue” the attacker, while others are hoping he is “banned and jailed”.
He posted on Twitter: “The club are going have to take a huge punishment for this to act as a deterrent in the future.
“A points deduction or Empty stadium for 10 games!”
The match is renowned as being one of the most violent in British football.
Both clubs are followed by organised gangs of hooligans, and more than 400 police officers are on duty for the game.
In October 2017 there were 10 arrests at the infamous Clappergate clash at St Andrew’s, where hundreds of souvenir ‘clappers’ handed out by Birmingham City to their fans were thrown onto the pitch.
After the game Blues fans pelted police with bricks and bottles, prompting police to hold the Villa fans inside the stadium for 90 minutes as they attempted to clear the streets outside the ground.
Violence flared at a pub near Villa Park in September 2015, leading to 28 fans being arrested.
In 2002 Birmingham fan Michael Harper was jailed for four months for slapping Villa keeper Peter Enckelman after he let in a terrible own goal.
Harper was seen on TV running up to the distraught goalkeeper, making an obscene gesture and slapping his cheek.
Harper, a building labourer, had pleaded guilty to going on to the playing surface at City’s St Andrew’s ground and using threatening behaviour during the game.
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