A TEENAGER sparked fury after he sent a vile message to Burnley striker Danny Ings on social networking site Twitter.
Blackburn Rovers fan Sam Braysford’s message accused the Burnley striker of ridiculously behaving inappropriately with disabled Clarets fan Joseph Skinner.
He also made a derogatory remark about Joseph’s disability.
The teenager has since been slammed by 14-year-old Joseph’s mum, who branded Braysford ‘vermin’.
Ings’s profile picture on the site, which allows users to write short, public 140-character ‘tweets’, features a shot of Ings kissing Joseph’s forehead.
The image, captured by photographer Andy Ford, was taken after Burnley beat Ipswich 2-0 at Turf Moor in the final game of last season, when Ings gave the young season ticket holder a pair of his boots.
Joseph, who has cerebral palsy, said Ings’s gesture made that day ‘the best of his life’.
Teenager Braysford, using the handle ‘@matthewsamm’, used a derogatory term aimed at disabled people as he referred to the picture in a message on Tuesday evening. Striker Ings retweeted the message to his 18,000 followers, and replied: “What a disgusting guy you are.”
Braysford later apologised and deleted his account after being bombarded by more than 200 messages including dozens from angry fans of both clubs.
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One Twitter user, former Blue Peter and current Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas, told him: “What a poor excuse for a human being you are.”
Matthew Middleton wrote: “Seriously, it’s disgusting what you said, and even Rovers fans are embarrassed.”
And Daniel McLaney said: “What a shameful, disgusting comment to say about another human being. If only there were more people like Ings in the public eye.”
Ben Palmer added: “Treat people how you would like to be treated. If someone said that about someone in your family, what would you do?”
Braysford yesterday said he had received death threats and threats against his family after Ings, who has made more than 80 appearances for Burnley since joining in 2011, retweeted his post.
Joseph’s mum, Bernadette Nuttall, saw the tweet after logging in on Tuesday evening.
The 42-year-old said: “I noticed the tweet because my nephew had tweeted back.
“It’s just to get a reaction and it’s just a shame that they used my son to get one. It’s not the first time.
“Twitter is just a breeding ground for idiots. They wouldn’t be brave enough to say anything any other time. They’re just vermin.”
Bernadette, who lives with Joseph and his younger sister Katie, in Padiham, said the Blessed Trinity student would take the abuse on the chin.
She said: “He’s just a normal lad but in a chair. He has the same brains, the feelings, the emotions and the sense of humour as everybody else.
“He can read and speak better than most 14-year-olds. Why they need to target him I don’t know.
“He will not be crying in his bedroom. He is a strong character. He thinks people like that will not spoil his enjoyment of going to the football.”
When approached by the Lancashire Telegraph yesterday, Braysford said he had deleted his tweet and apologised for being disrespectful.
He said: “There are tweets from both sets of fans which go unpunished. Just because mine got tweeted by Danny doesn't make the others better. It's all the same level of disrespect.
“There are plenty of disrespectful posts about the late great Jack Walker.
“And I have said many times I am sorry for what I put, and it was completely disrespectful.”
A spokesman for Burnley Football Club said the club was aware of the comments but declined to comment.
Ings also declined to comment.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said they were not aware of the messages.