Mum praises Clarets stars for rescuing boys
Big-hearted Clarets players made themselves heroes to a hat-trick of new fans when they invited three young boys to sit in their dugout as trouble erupted at Burnley's recent match at West Ham United's London Stadium.
The boys, Zane El Amir (7), his cousin Aston Niven (9) and their eight-year-old friend William Smith were sat in the home end with Zane's mum Sharyn El Amir when a number of West Ham fans began fighting amongst each other and heading angrily to the director's box.
IT project manager Sharyn, who had received tickets for the match through work, had taken the boys as a treat, but what should have been a nice day out turned into a nightmare when the atmosphere turned hostile.
The mum from Leigh on Sea in Essex said: "None of us go on the football usually so the boys had been really excited. However, after Burnley's first goal the atmosphere turned really toxic and quite scary.
"Some of the West Ham fans near us were fighting amongst themselves and then started heading towards the director's box. I was worried because I was looking after the boys myself.
"We were near the Burnley dugour when I tried to move the boys away from the trouble for our safety. It was then that Jeff Hendrick, Dean Marney, Phil Bardsley and Sam Vokes picked the boys up and invited them to sit on the bench.
"Then one of the Burnley physios called me over and we stayed there until the full-time whistle. The Burnley lads were absolutely incredible. They gave the boys some of their shirts and boots. It was such a nice thing for them to do."
The incident and a picture of the boys sat in the Burnley bench was featured on that night's Match of the Day programme with host Gary Lineker praising the players.
Sharyn (42) added: "The boys went to school this morning thinking they were celebrities! They were absolutely made-up and I think they will keep a close eye on Burnley's results from now on, especially as they've got all the kit.
"I was really shaken up and felt very scared at first so I couldn't be more thankful to the players for helping me. They were human beings that saw three kids in trouble and took them to safety. What started off as an awful incident turned into an amazing experience."