A FOOTBALL-MAD youngster enjoyed the ultimate birthday treat when she joined Sheffield United heroes after a training session.
Fifth-generation Blades fan Shanel Crompton, whose family have been supporting the club for 104 years, rubbed shoulders with the on-pitch stars to celebrate her seventh birthday in style.
The surprise was organised by Bramall Lane bosses after Shanel sacrificed a party and lots of presents in favour of being mascot at United’s first game of the season against Shrewsbury.
When they heard of how the youngster had been signed up to the supporters’ club by grandmother Tracy Crompton when she was just 45 minutes old, they were keen to honour her dedication ahead of the match.
It proved a dream come true for Shanel when she was invited to the training ground, where she met her favourite player Kevin McDonald.
The midfielder pledged to give her his match shirt after the Shrewsbury game - a promise he fulfilled after the youngster proved a good luck charm when the Blades claimed victory on Saturday.
And if that was not enough, the boys in red and white showcased their vocal skills and sang a chorus of Happy Birthday.
Dave McCarthy, managing director of Sheffield United, said: “Shanel is a special girl and we were delighted to make her visit to the academy and to the ground a special occasion.”
Little Shanel, daughter of 23-year-old Kellie Sayle, was accompanied by other members of the Cromptons clan - whose biggest boast is that none of the extended family has defected to Sheffield Wednesday despite the fact they live by the home of the Owls in Hillsborough.
Their support for the Blades began with the youngster’s late great, great-grandfather Arthur Crampton more than a century ago.
Grandma Tracy, 45, said: “The club made her a very happy little girl. It has had a massive impact on her and all of the family.
“Shanel is a fifth generation and fourth living generation United supporter.”