Players tried to give fan ‘a sly one’

Hourihane reveals two minutes of ‘chaos’ as ‘shocked’ players had to deal with St Andrew’s pitch invader after Grealish assault

By Graham Hill

VILLA midfielder Conor Hourihane admitted players tried to take matters into their own hands after Jack Grealish was attacked at Blues.

Grealish was hit from behind by a pitch invader just minutes into the Second City derby at St Andrew’s.

And Hourihane admitted some of Grealish’s team-mates wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine.

The Irishman said players tried to give the fan a ‘sly one’.

Culprit Paul Mitchell was jailed for 14 weeks on Monday following the attack

Hourihane told Irish radio station Off The Ball: “We all saw him running towards the group of players and from the corner flag, and just thought it was one of those things that happens in football.

“But nobody expected what happened.

“It was a disgusting incident that can’t be tolerated in the game, Jack could’ve been severely hurt – it was freak incident.

“There was chaos for a minute or two, we were in shock, we were trying to defend Jack and give a little sly one to the invader at the same time.

“It was one of the worst incidents I’ve ever seen on a football pitch.”

Hourihane admitted that, despite the result, Villa’s victory was overshadowed.

He added: “It put a dampener on the game for us, to beat them in their back yard is huge for us.

“Now we’re talking about this idiot who could’ve done severe damage to someone.

‘Was he rattled by it? I suppose he was. He was probably in a bit of shock ‘Did that just really happen’, but he kept his cool.

“A lot would’ve gone into their shell.

“It was crazy we all thought it was a pitch invader getting cheered on by his friends to get on to the pitch and trying to make a name for himself.

“The atmosphere was ruined by the incident but we’re delighted with the way everyone handled themselves.”

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