A football fan has hit back at Twitter trolls targeting his daughter who has Down’s Syndrome after he posted a video of her dancing at a Tottenham Hotspur match.
Proud father-of-three Neil Markham, of Banbury, Oxfordshire, tweeted the clip of 16-year-old Ella at Spurs’ new stadium after the 0-1 defeat to West Ham.
It included the message: ‘The result is never the most important thing #COYS.’
But the 43-year-old Tottenham fan was left distraught after being bombarded with sickening messages from trolls.
Proud father-of-three Neil Markham tweeted the clip of 16-year-old Ella (pictured, in the video) at Spurs’ new stadium after the 0-1 defeat to West Ham
But he decided to fight back against the abuse, and started handing out his phone number challenging the trolls to contact him.
He wrote: ‘What is wrong with people? This girl would wish you nothing but happiness. Why do you need to be like this? Contact me directly rather than hiding.’
Many of the trolls then backed down and some even deleted their accounts.
Sales director Mr Markham – married to Adele, also 43 – said: ‘I was rock bottom on Saturday night and I feel so much better now and it can only be a positive thing.
‘My social media life is really about my kids, it’s not really about anything else. My brother lives away and it was a way of keeping him in the loop.
Mr Markham (pictured with his daughter Ella) was left distraught after being bombarded with sickening messages from trolls
Mr Markham directly responded to the abuse, challenging the trolls to contact him directly. He later thanked users for their support after he was sent thousands of positive messages about his daughter
‘A lot of people said it was a joke or their account was hacked.
‘I’ve had people message me to say that they used to use that word before and they said they will not use it again.
‘If one person doesn’t, Ella has made a difference.’
He added: ‘She loves Harry Kane, but music and dancing is her passion.
Former Spurs favourite Micky Hazard got in touch with Mr Markhsm (left) offering his support, calling her a ‘beautiful young lady’
‘I’m not a snowflake but I will protect my daughter because I’m the only one who can. That is my job.’
‘We’ve had the best part of 9,000 messages and now 99 per cent of them are positive.’
The video has been viewed more than 1.6million times, got 24,000 likes and he has had nearly 8,000 messages in support.
Mr Markham – also dad to Danny, 11 and Ryan, 26 – got a message from a former first team player offering support.
Ella in her Harry Kane Spurs strip. Her father revealed he has received 9,000 messages about the video, and ’99 per cent of them are positive’
Tottenham legend Graham Roberts tweeted: ‘@NeilMarkham1 and his lovely daughter Ella are guests of mine at my gala dinner in May and I can’t wait to spend a special evening with her.’
Another former Spurs favourite Micky Hazard said: ‘Hey Neil your daughter is a beautiful young lady and that is such a beautiful photo of you both.
Ella watching Tottenham at the new stadium (left) and with her father Neil (right)
‘Sometimes people are cruel because they don’t see the beauty but the vast majority do.
‘I have a Finale programme signed by the Legends for her, meet me at a game so I can give it to her x.’