David James believes the fan who threw a coin at Phil Sharp is a 'disgrace' to Aston Villa and insists the club should not be punished for the actions of the supporter.
Towards the end of Villa's 0-0 draw at home to Portsmouth on Saturday, assistant referee Sharp was struck by an object thrown from the crowd.
Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp branded the perpetrator a 'moron' and 'coward', and suggested he was the intended target of the object.
Former Villa keeper James was disappointed by the incident and is hoping the club and police can identify the culprit.
"I saw the linesman on the floor and the first thing I thought was maybe he's pulled his hamstring," said the Portsmouth No.1 in The Sun.
"Then I saw the physio administer some sort of first aid to him and I realised it was worse than that. That doesn't belong here.
"It's not respected here. It's a disgrace to Aston Villa because it's their stadium and it's probably an Aston Villa fan - and it's a disgrace to football.
"It shouldn't have happened. You can threaten fans with expulsion from the ground and take away their season tickets.
"But if you start punishing clubs then you'd get an away fan dressed as a home fan throwing something on to the pitch.
"For the mindless few I don't think everyone should suffer. If the CCTV cameras pick up whoever it was then eject them and punish them."
Villa boss Martin O'Neill also believes the incident will be a setback for owner Randy Lerner, who is looking to take the club forward.
O'Neill admitted: "Randy will be extremely disappointed. He was here today. He honestly has a love affair with the club and that will be a setback, absolutely. It's not acceptable.
"In my time here I can't remember too many incidents. It's pointless, more than pointless, it's a criminal offence isn't it?
"I've had words with one or two boys behind the goal telling me how to do my job, quite forcefully at times, but that's part of it. This is different."