The saying “cheaters never prosper” was proved today when during a soccer match, an Aston Villa player was sucker-punched in the back of the head by a fan of the opposing team, Birmingham City. After police carted the angry pitch invader off to the West Midlands jail, the socked soccer player, midfielder Jack Grealish, then went on to score for Aston Villa to win the game.
TMZ Sports says that in the first half of the match, the Birmingham City fan got a running start and hit the midfielder in the back of the head and knocked him down. The Birmingham fan was then grabbed by other players followed by security and handed over to the police, as shown on YouTube.
The Birmingham City fan, who has not been named, looked disheveled with his clothes in disarray as he was taken off the pitch of the then-scoreless game, blowing kisses to the crowd. But in the second half, Grealish regained his composure and went on to score the game-winning goal against Birmingham City. Grealish took a left-footed shot to the bottom corner of the goal, and Aston Villa won 1-0.
But despite the angry fan, Birmingham City took the loss in stride, according to TMZ Sports.
“Birmingham definitely were not sore losers either — in fact, the team issued a statement after the game apologizing to Grealish and Aston Villa at large for what one of their own fans did… saying the dude would be banned from St. Andrew’s Stadium for life.”
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish1) March 10, 2019
The New York Times says that after the game, in the second-tier Championship, Grealish spoke out to say that there is no room in the game for violent assaults on or off the field.
“I was walking into position and then just felt a whack around the side of the face. Obviously there’s rivalry and stuff in football, but I don’t think there’s any place for that.”
The Birmingham City team released a statement after the game to say that they have nothing but love for Jack Grealish, who is a “Birmingham boy,” and they are so sorry that the incident occurred because there is no excuse for such unsportsmanlike conduct.
But as rattled as Grealish was after the incident, he felt like he responded to the fan with an ideal response, and that was to score the only goal of the game.
“I just tried to get on with my job. To score the winner was unbelievable, after what happened in the first half I think it was set up for it.”