Jack Grealish has wrote his name in Second City derby history as the local lad scored the winner as Villa triumphed 1-0 over city rivals Birmingham. But it was an incident in the 8th minute that stole all the headlines, as a Birmingham fan stormed the pitch and struck Grealish in the face from behind.
The fan managed to break free of watching stewards and police to enter the pitch, make a beeline for Grealish, and punch him from behind leading to the Villa star dropping to the floor. The fan was then removed from the pitch, being dragged from the pitch to a heroes applause from the Birmingham fans and has since been arrested.
Already facing a hostile atmosphere from the first whistle due to his strong Villa connections, and with his every touch being met with a chorus of boos and jeers, it would have been very easy for Grealish to shrink and go missing under such circumstances.
But the young man took the game by the scruff of the neck and was the best player on the pitch all afternoon. Picking up the ball on the edge of the box and faced with no pressure from the opposing Blues defenders, Grealish simply took his time and fired a lovely left footed shot across the keeper into the bottom corner.
Right in front of the Villa fans the local hero couldn’t contain his joy as he leapt straight into the away end, facing more abuse as he was seemingly kicked by a steward on his way out.
Post-match Grealish proclaimed it the best day of his life, as a lifelong villa fan scoring the winner away at St Andrews in their first ever appearance there, you can see why. In a time where loyalty in football is at premium, there is something brilliant about Jack Grealish’s love and loyalty to his boyhood club. But if he keeps turning in performances like this, Grealish must be on his way to a top club in the not too distant future.