Fans at West Bromwich Albion paid an emotional tribute to stab victim Christina Edkins at The Hawthorns.
It has emerged the 16-year-old Halesowen schoolgirl, who was killed on a bus in Birmingham, was a keen Baggies fan and former season ticket holder.
Her aunt and uncle were at the match on Saturday against Swansea. Stadium announcer Russ Morris read a statement at half time, prompting a loud round of applause from Albion and visiting fans.
It said: “West Bromwich Albion was deeply shocked and saddened by the news that local schoolgirl Christina Edkins had lost her life in such tragic circumstances on Thursday morning whilst travelling to school by bus.
“Christina, just 16, was one of us – a lifelong fan who attended our recent home games against Villa and Tottenham. Her dad, Jason, is an East Stand season ticket holder. Her uncle, Chris, and aunt, Kay, are also East Stand season ticket holders and are able to be with us today.
“As a club, we want Jason, mum Kath, sister Joanne, brother Ryan and the rest of Christina’s family to know that they are in our thoughts and prayers at this extremely difficult time.”
It is understood Christina’s uncle contacted the club late on Friday and informed them of the family connection. Albion manager Steve Clarke also paid tribute to Christina. He said: “It’s an absolute tragedy. Our thoughts go to the girl’s family. It’s horrific that something happens in this day and age in this country. It’s terrible.
“I think the occasion was well marked by the supporters in the ground. Hopefully, the family can take some comfort from it.”
Leasowes High School pupil Christina, who lived in Ladywood, Birmingham, was attacked on the number nine bus on Hagley Road just after 7.30am on Thursday. She died from a single stab wound to the chest.
On Friday the chief suspect, a 22-year-old man, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He has been sent to a secure facility after mental health professionals deemed him unfit to be interviewed any further by detectives.
Prayers have been taking place at churches to remember Christina. A book of condolence has been opened at St Peter’s Church in Lapal, Halesowen, near Leasowes School.