A 10-year-old football supporter was banned from serving as a mascot in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final after telling a local newspaper website he wanted the opposing side to win.
Ryan Dearsley had been due to step on to Wembley Stadium’s hallowed turf with Reading FC’s players at Saturday’s semi-final against Arsenal.
But the youngster was stood down by the Football Association after a video appearance on the website of the Huddersfield Daily Examiner in which he revealed he wanted the North London side to win.
Ryan, pictured below, actually supports neither club and is a fan of his local team Huddersfield Town, but received the opportunity after winning a competition during his side’s Cup tie against Reading earlier this year.
An ensuing poll on GetReading’s website saw 85pc of readers vote in favour of Ryan being sacked from his position.
Reading supporters complained to the English game’s governing body, The FA, which consequently pulled the plug on him receiving the honour.
Ryan’s grandfather and legal guardian Alan, who had been due to accompany him to London for the match, called the reaction of Reading fans “ridiculous.”
He told the Examiner: “I don’t blame the FA because they said they didn’t want Ryan to be upset on the day with any booing from the Reading fans.
“But for the football loudmouths to react in this way to a few harmless words from a 10-year-old is ridiculous.”
However, there will be a happy ending for Ryan, after The FA offered to make him a mascot for an England national team match in future instead.
An FA spokesman said: “Following Ryan’s interview in the local media, and with agreement from his family, it was decided to move his prize over to an England mascot place later this year.”