MOST little girls dream of getting dolls, cute gadgets and cuddly toys for their birthday - but not Shanel Crampton.
The football-mad six-year-old, a fifth generation Sheffield United supporter, is sacrificing a party to fulfil a lifelong ambition to be a mascot at Bramall Lane.
Shanel’s dedication to the Blades continues a family tradition dating back more than a century, when her late great, great-grandfather Arthur Crampton first began following the boys in red and white.
When she was only 45 minutes old, her gran Tracy Crampton - whose dad Raymond is a lifelong Blade - was queueing at the Lane to sign her up to the supporters’ club.
The Cramptons’ 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.
And Shanel, daughter of Kellie Sayle, 23, will step out with her heroes when they take on Shrewsbury on Saturday, August 18, two days before she turns seven.
Tracy, aged 45 said: “United have been going for 123 years and my side of the family have been fans for 104. There have been a lot of additions along the way, but we’ve always stayed what I call pure.
“Shanel is a fifth generation and fourth living generation United supporter.
“She’s been begging me to be a mascot for years, but I wanted to wait until she was older, so she’d remember it.
“I’ve told her she can’t have a big party, but she doesn’t care - being mascot is all she wants.”
Dave McCarthy, Blades managing director, said: “We’re delighted, as a family club, that Shanel is continuing the tradition of following United that has been with her family for more than 100 years.”