English Premier League club Everton have given a disabled fan a day he will never forget after he was abused by internet trolls.

Danny has Down Syndrome, and was recently subjected to cruel mocking on Twitter after being recorded celebrating a goal.

Many football fans took to Twitter to defend Danny, and now his club has invited him to join them for a host of events and activities at their training ground.

In partnership with the club's sponsor, Danny was invited to the USM Finch Farm training base where he met with former Everton player and coach Duncan Ferguson for breakfast in the players' canteen.

Danny was then brought onto the training pitch to meet the first team players, and sat next to manager Marco Silva as part of the club's official team photoshoot. He was able to speak with some of his heroes, and also had time for a quick game with internationals Michael Keane and Maarten Stekelenburg, and Everton academy graduate Kieran Dowell.

Danny even demonstrated some of his favourite celebrations for the squad, and watched the first team's training session.

After lunch with the club's under-23 side, Danny was back on the training pitch taking part in passing drills with the team. He received a standing ovation from under-23 manager David Unsworth and his squad for his contributions.

Danny has been a season ticket holder at Goodison Park since he was four years old, and now aged 28 he has become well-known around the stadium for his enthusiasm and support.

Danny's father Paul accompanied him to the training ground, and said, "It was one of the best days we have experienced as a family ever. Danny couldn't have been looked after any better if he had been royalty, which I think he thought he was".

"He lives and breathes Everton - his life revolves around it and he wouldn't miss a game for anything. He has always wanted to come to USM Finch Farm, and I don't think he or we will ever forget it", added Paul.

CAFE Fans Liaison Officer Amy Wilson said, "Everton's heartwarming gesture will create memories for Danny and his family that will last a lifetime. In addition to physical, sensory and intellectual barriers that disabled fans can often face in following their clubs, there are still attitudinal barriers such as Danny encountered. Disabled fans should be able to enjoy live football alongside their fellow supporters in a welcoming, inclusive environment and without the risk of abuse".

Congratulations to Danny on his VIP experience day, and to Everton for this fantastic gesture!

Attitudinal barriers can often be some of the most permanent and hurtful issues faced by disabled people.There have been many reported cases of disabled people not wanting to watch live matches due to the way other people have made them feel, and this simply has to stop.

There is no place in football or society for disability abuse or an unwelcoming attitude, and we all have an important role in removing such barriers. It was refreshing to see so many people take to social media to condemn the abuse Danny had received, and through the unique power of football we can bring about wider societal changes to become more accessible, inclusive and welcoming for all.

You can read more about Danny's day at the Everton website here, and check out the below video which is also posted here.

Published 28/09/2018