AN ONLINE fundraising campaign has been launched to help jailed Birmingham City pitch invader pay his compensation to Jack Grealish.
The campaign to raise funds for Paul Mitchell appeared on GoFundMe on Monday after he appeared in court for attacking Grealish during Sunday’s West Midlands derby.
Mitchell, 27, was jailed for 14 weeks and ordered to pay the star £100 in compensation for the assault during Aston Villa’s dramatic 1-0 win over Birmingham City at St Andrew’s.
The city’s magistrates court heard father-of-one Mitchell, of Rubery, Birmingham, told police who led him off the pitch that he “always thought Jack Grealish was a knob”.
Supporters of Mitchell set up the GoFundMe page to “raise a bit of money for him” after he was handed the sentenced at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
Appealing for funds, the campaigners left the message: “We’d like to raise a bit of money to help Paul pay his fine to a millionaire Grealish and help his pregnant partner get by whilst he’s away for a bit.
“Thanks in advance.”
The page, which featured a strange picture of the convicted thug depicted as King Henry VIII, was condemned by both Villa and Birmingham fans.
“This needed to be reported on and stopped. He didn’t deserve a penny for what he did,” one fuming fan told Birmingham Live.
“I put it on my Facebook page and both Villa and Blues fans reported it to get it took down.”
“We’d like to raise a bit of money to help Paul”
One woman tweeted a link to West Midlands Police, writing on Twitter: “A GoFundMe campaign has been started to fund his fine. The replies are disgusting.”
One fan suggested the Mitchell “won’t learn his lesson” if his compensation is paid for with another adding: “This must be a wind up.”
Donors appear to have pledged funds to the campaign before it was taken down by GoFundMe administrators for breaching the website’s rules.
GoFundMe has confirmed the campaign has been removed from the website for breaching its terms of service.
The crowd-funding platform reserves the right to suspended campaigns deemed to be in support of, or for the legal defence of, criminal activity including violence, according to its terms and conditions.
“The page was removed for being outside terms of service,” a spokesman for GoFundMe told Daily Star Online.
The lack of connection between the campaign and the beneficiary – Mitchell – also informed GoFundMe’s decision to remove the page, the spokesman added.
The pub worker admitted common assault and pitch encroachment at the hearing on Monday, 24 hours after running towards Grealish from behind and lashing out.
Chairman of the bench Alison Fisher and another magistrate ordered Mitchell to pay £100 to Grealish as compensation for the “pain, discomfort and shock” caused by the assault.
Mitchell was also hit with a £115 victim surcharge and £135 in prosecution costs, and given a fortnight to pay the total sum of £350.
In a statement read to magistrates from Grealish, who went on to score the winning goal in Sunday’s game, he said: “I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident.
“It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”