AS a co-commentator at the game, the attack on Jack Grealish was a bizarre one. You find it difficult to keep a hold of yourself.
You understand you are doing something for a viewing audience on live TV but you have to almost hold yourself back from cursing.
It was absolutely disgusting. We have seen fans on the pitch before but this was truly shocking.
Grealish contained himself unbelievably well. If the fan had connected with him properly he could have been in real trouble but fortunately the idiot didn’t do that.
The midfielder did so well to stay on the floor and away from further trouble because, in a game like that, it’s quite easy to get caught up in the emotions and do something really stupid.
Fair play to his teammates as well. I thought they were going to smack him but instead they handled it with real class.
I experienced the opposite in my career. It was for Stoke and we had just beaten Derby and I had scored the winner.
I was walking towards the away fans near the touchline and this fella from the crowd starts calling me all the names under the sun, which you have to accept sometimes unfortunately.
But when I turned to him to smile he had his young one in his arms. That set me off. I just saw red and confronted him, demanding: “What the hell are you doing?”
I shouldn’t have done that, I overstepped the mark. But it just shows how easy it is to get involved in something when you’re getting abuse, verbal or physical.
What impressed me even more about Grealish’s reaction was how he then went and played afterwards.
Some players get shaken up by situations like that and begin to drift out of the game. But this incident almost made him play better and grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
A lot of people are saying the stewards should do more. But realistically, if a supporter wants to get on the pitch, they can. The stewards are that outnumbered.
It’s not just a football problem, though. It’s a societal problem and one that has been an increasing problem in recent weeks, with the likes of Rangers’ James Tavernier getting involved with a Hibernian fan.
The fear is that you don’t know if that idiot has managed to smuggle something into the ground. What if he had a knife on him?
The punishment must be severe and hefty to make an example of this individual. I hope it’s the first and last time I have to experience anything like that in football.