Chris Knoll, a West Ham supporter nicknamed ‘the Angel of Alkmaar', has been rewarded a free ticket to the Europa Conference League final vs Fiorentina in Prague.
Last week, ‘Knollsy' became an internet sensation when video footage of him went viral as he fought off AZ Alkmaar hooligans. The Hammers fan was at the stands in the semi-finals when his favorite team beat AZ 1-0 and claimed their place in the final against Fiorentina on June 7.
After the full-time whistle, football hooligans attacked the away end where coaching personnel as well as friends and relatives of the players were seated.
The 58-year-old stood up to the aggressive yobs and tried to fight dozens of them simultaneously as he protected the team's loved ones.
His heroic act was caught on camera and he immediately became a celebrity amongst the West Ham fans, who now call him the "Angel of Alkmaar".
In an interview, Knollsy said: "I'm not a hero. I just did what I had to do. There was another guy who was fending them off. I don't like bullies and just had to try and stop them. I just thought the best form of defense was to attack. You could see they were intent on causing trouble and I did not want them to get to those behind us."
That intense experience did not deter Knoll at all. In fact, he was actually desperate to get a ticket for the final in Prague. Fortunately for him, a club official who he met prior to the AZ game contacted him and then gave him one ticket, for free, as a gesture of gratitude for defending the team's families.
"She said she was sitting two rows behind me and saw what happened. She said I had been very courageous and that I deserved a ticket. It's ironic that she was the one who phoned me today. I remember joking with her earlier about whether she could get me a ticket if we got to the final.
I know how difficult it is to get a ticket. I am so happy at this."
if you have some money you could go and see the final. I don't think that a ticket is that expensive because it is not a World Cup, European Championship or Champions League final. Here the price is more reasonable, but for Europeans. The rest pay more money.
it is normal for people to win different prizes in money, in other things, in vacations or sports matches. I think this helps a lot and brings more publicity to a European football cup final. There is something good here.
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