Sheffield Wednesday superfan Ethan Brocklehurst-Adams could barely hold his excitement when he got the chance to meet his heroes at the Owls in the Park fun day
The annual event gives supporters the chance to get up close and personal with their heroes and even pit their wits against them with a game of five-a-side.
But nine-year-old Ethan’s elation soon turned to upset and tears when he was snubbed by Owls forward Fernando Forestieri as he asked him for his autograph.
And for his watching dad Andy Adams, the over-riding emotion was more anger than upset as he watched his son walk back to him in floods of tears.
Andy, aged 40, said: “I am not one for confrontation, especially with a guy who earns more than I ever will in 10 or even 100 years.
“But we had queued for two-and-a-half hours to see the players and it was the fourth time that day Forestieri had snubbed him.
“He said he had signed ‘too many autographs’.
“I said a few cross words and a steward came over and agreed that it shouldn’t have happened and I just said it’s disgusting and we left the park.”
Such was Andy’s frustration, he took to Twitter to let the Argentinian and the club know how he felt.
But the only emotion being felt a few hours later was joy and excitement.
Andy added: “I tweeted Forestieri saying it was disgusting and he started following me and he said he felt guilty and I said ‘quite right you should’.
“Then he asked me for my address. I asked why and he said he wanted to come over and would be there in 20 minutes. But Ethan lives with his mum at a different address.
“I rung Ethan and said I was on my way and so was Fernando Forestieri. He never believed me and the next thing, he pulled up in front of my car and said ‘can I have a cup of tea?”
Forestieri, who missed most of the Owls 2017/18 campaign with injury, spent around an hour at Ethan’s home in Hellaby, Rotherham.
The Maltby Lily Hall Academy pupil, who plays as a goalkeeper for Thorncliffe Juniors, spoke to his idol about growing up in Argentina before they watched the Croatia against Denmark World Cup match together.
He said neighbours started queuing outside the family home once they realised who had turned up at their home.
Andy said: “He was just really remorseful for what he’d done and was very relaxed and chilled out.
“He spoke to Ethan about how he grew up in Argentina before moving to Italy and how his move to Wednesday came about and about the battle to start with them having so many strikers.”
Andy said: “He absolutely loved it. He was bouncing all the way to school the day after because he said he couldn’t wait to tell his mates.
“His only disappointment was that his PlayStation was at my house so he couldn’t play against him on that.”
Ethan said his classmates didn’t believe him when he told them, until he showed them the photographic evidence.
He said: “My dad rang me and said Fernando Forestieri was coming to my house and I said no he isn’t.
“My dad came and we were playing football when an Audi pulled up outside and I saw who it was and I just like ‘wow’.”
Ethan said they watched football together, while Forestieri had a cup of tea.
He added: “It’s just mad – he is one of my heroes and it was a big opportunity because nobody gets big stars come to their house.”