A jubilant Jack Grealish described scoring the winner for Aston Villa against Birmingham City after being punched by a pitch invader as “the best day” of his life.
Grealish, Villa’s captain on the day, was attacked less than 10 minutes into a heated affair at St Andrew’s when a man entered the field of play and struck him around the neck and jaw from behind.
Players from both teams checked on the midfielder’s welfare and he went on to score the decisive goal in Villa’s 1-0 victory, beating Lee Camp from just inside the box in the 67th minute.
Grealish said the ugly incident, which led to an individual being arrested by West Midlands Police, took him by surprise, but did not overshadow a proud day.
“I was just unaware at the time,” Grealish told Sky Sports when asked about the attack.
“I was walking into position and I just felt a whack around the side of the face. Obviously there’s rivalry in football but I don’t think there’s any place for that really.
Dreams come true…
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) March 10, 2019
“I just tried to get on with my job in the end and I think I did. It was unbelievable to get the winner in front of the fans after what happened.
“It’s the best day of my life to come here as captain of Aston Villa and score the winner. It’s what dreams are made of, especially being an Aston Villa fan.”
Grealish’s winner lifted Villa to ninth in the Championship, a point above their Second City rivals.
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