Joey Barton makes appeal to West Ham fan 'Knollsy' after fighting off AZ Alkmaar ultras
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Joey Barton has made an appeal to West Ham 'cult hero' Chris Knolls after he fought off AZ Alkmaar hooligans on Thursday.
Knolls, widely known as 'Knollsy', took the phrase 'put your body on the line' to a new level on Thursday evening, after fending off ultras in Holland - becoming an overnight sensation.
A group of opposition supporters charged towards where the West Ham players' families were sitting following their Europa Conference League semi-final defeat to the Hammers.
However, stood in their way was 58-year-old electrician and die-hard West Ham supporter Knolls, who put himself in the firing line to protect those around him.
After safely arriving at home, he told reporters that the perpetrators looked like "little ants" as they ran towards the travelling supporters.
"I just realised the best form of defence - or the place to put up a defence - would be at the top of the stairwell where it was almost a one on one situation," he explained.
When asked if he considered himself a hero, he said: "No, not at all. There were guys who did exactly the same as I did and there were people behind me as well."
But a ripped shirt and a black eye wasn't going to stop him from attending West Ham's Premier League match against Leeds on Sunday afternoon, where he was given a standing ovation by fellow supporters.
The players treated him to a 3-1 win at the London Stadium, capping off a week to remember for Knolls.
However, he dreams of going to Prague, where his beloved Hammers face Fiorentina in the final of the Europa Conference League on June 7.
"Id love to go to Prague," he admitted. "That would be the icing on the cake for the day yesterday. Obviously, the trouble we had, it would almost make it all worthwhile."
And Bristol Rovers manager Barton, who wasn't opposed to the occasional scrap in his playing days, has led the charge to get Knolls to the final.
"Make sure this fella gets a ticket to the final. Flattened all those whoppers…," he tweeted.