A reformed football hooligan has challenged a Twitter user who trolled Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish to join him doing homeless outreach work.
The tweet, referencing Grealish’s late younger brother, was roundly condemned by other social media users, and has been reported to West Midlands Police.
The post came just moments after Grealish netted the winner in the hotly-contested Championship local derby between Birmingham City FC and Aston Villa, which ended 1-0 to the visitors.
Earlier on in the tenth minute of an eventful game, Grealish had been attacked from behind by a Blues fan who ran on to the pitch.
Grealish was widely praised for his cool-headed response to the punch.
Police later said a 27-year-old man had been arrested over that incident.
A steward was also spoken to by police in the aftermath of Grealish’s strike.
After the final whistle, both Blues and Villa supporters criticised the troll’s tweet, which was one of two he sent on the subject.
Jack Grealish has spoken previously about how he has been inspired by the memory of his brother Keelan Daniel Grealish, who died when the Villa star was four.
Twitter users called the troll the “lowest of the low” and “vile”, while another said it was an “embarrassing day for Birmingham City Football Club”.
Barrington Patterson, known as One Eyed Baz, then directly addressed the social media troll over his tasteless remarks about Grealish and his family.
Patterson is a former member of the infamous Blues’ Zulu hooligan firm but turned his back on violence years ago.
Patterson told the Twitter user: “Tell u what, in a few days I’m going to come round your house, pick u up and we are going to have a chat about some old skool ways.
“Then u are coming out to do some homeless outreach graft and hopefully u will learn.”
Patterson, from Birmingham, added: “So inbox me your phone number or someone else do it let’s get this sorted – balls in your court kid.”
Other social media users praised the former kick-boxing and mixed martial arts fighter’s approach to steer the troll on to the “right path”.
Updating his 16,000 Twitter followers late on Sunday, Patterson tweeted a thumbs-up emoji, saying he had now spoken to the young man and the pair would be meeting up.
The 53-year-old has helped run the Birmingham Homeless Support Team, collecting and donating clothing and other practical supplies directly to the city’s rough sleepers, since 2015.
In a statement issued after the game, West Midlands Police said it would be “reviewing complaints around offensive social media posts”.
In all, four people were arrested on suspicion of assault or violent disorder during the fixture.