Everton Football Fan, 8, With CP, Told By Manchester City Fans That He Should Have Been Drowned At Birth
A disabled eight-year-old ‘true Blue’ Everton fan who was allocated seats in the Manchester City side of the clubs’ Capital One Cup semi-final clash was told by fans he ‘should have been drowned at birth’.
Everton fan James Ireland, fondly known as ‘JJ’, was taken to the match by his dad James, 35, having seats allocated through his season ticket.
The Garston boy was shown by stewards to the south-side, to what were apparently the wrong seats, only to become the victim of horrific verbal abuse.
JJ, who has has cerebral palsy, was told by Man City fans that he ‘should have been drowned at birth’ along with other abuse.
His dad said the stewards ‘did nothing’ – and at one point, a fan tried to climb over the barrier to get to the father and son and was merely placed back in his seat by stewards.
JJ was the only disabled child in the area and wearing all of his Everton gear, including an Everton blanket for his wheelchair, but now he never wants to go to another away match.
James said he struggled to keep his mouth shut while his vulnerable son was being abused, adding: “I knew I couldn’t defend himself or JJ against the fans.”
When they were asked to leave, to join the Everton side, they were led through the hostile crowd instead of out and away from the offensive slurs.
The only boy in the family, with three sisters, ‘true Blue’ JJ loves going to matches with his dad.
His concerned and upset mother works as his carer and expressed her shock after the incident.
Helen Ireland, 32, said: “This was JJ’s first night away match, he was only allowed because it was the cup and he begged us.
“He was made up, so excited to see the ground.
“We bought the tickets through Everton, it was all above board, but Man City allocated the seats – they should have been safe, especially for a disabled child.
“Even if it was with the Man City fans, he should have been safe, nobody should have to hear those words – they got to him and sunk in.”
JJ was shaken up after the match, according to Helen,
She said: “The experience Everton fans had from Man City fans was disgusting – grown adults should know better.”
Manchester City have been approached for comment.