West Ham United hero ‘Knollsy’ was given a standing ovation during the victory against Leeds United on Sunday, and I for one could not be happier for him.
Chris Knoll, also known as Knollsy, a lifelong fan of West Ham, made headlines recently for his courageous act of defending his club's supporters from the ultras of AZ Alkmaar in their Europea Conference League semi-final second leg.
Despite David Moyes' team securing a 3-1 aggregate victory and advancing to the final, the celebratory atmosphere turned tense when a group of home supporters approached the away section after the final whistle.
Bravery At Alkmaar
In the midst of the commotion, Knollsy found himself in the thick of it, standing alongside players and fellow fans, determined to protect the traveling supporters from harm. He even sustained a black eye in the process. However, his bravery did not go unnoticed, as he received heartfelt appreciation from his fellow Hammers supporters.
During West Ham's match against Leeds at the London Stadium on Sunday, Knollsy garnered further recognition. As he was captured on camera, he received a standing ovation from the fans surrounding him in the stands.
Social media posts also revealed images of Knollsy being greeted with handshakes as he made his way to his seat, further highlighting the admiration and gratitude of the West Ham community.
Football’s Hooligan Stigma Remains
The utterly disgusting scenes received a substantial amount of media attention, with many rightly lambasting the minority of Alkmaar fans who thought they had the right to intrude on supporters’ privacy.
Indeed, it seems that the beautiful game’s complicated relationship with hooliganism is very much alive and well, though I can only imagine how much outrage would have been generated had the fans’ roles been reversed.
The act of heroism to stand his ground and defend the innocent family and friends of the West Ham players was superb to see and such bravery deserves to be rewarded. In fact, I would love to see Knollsy get to Prague, to hopefully see his beloved Hammers win a European final.
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