Images of a Luton Town fan who stayed behind on his own to applaud opponents Northampton being crowned champions have gone viral after being heralded the “ultimate sporting gesture”.
Tim Owen, 23, endured his beloved Hatters being beaten 2-0 at the Cobblers’ Sixfields Stadium on Saturday.
But as his fellow Luton supporters filed out of the ground, Tim decided to stand and clap the Cobblers alone – for almost an hour after the game.
And when Tim went to leave the stands after the League Two champions had left the pitch he was stunned after home fans started to applaud him in appreciation.
Pictures of the lonesome supporter have been viewed and shared over 6,000 times on Facebook page Football Away Days in just 24 hours.
Tim has always lived in Northampton, but supports Luton because his parents Geoffrey, 54, and Valerie, 48, moved from there shortly before he was born.
The ceramic tiler, of Duston, Northants, said: “I never intended to stay behind, but I clapped the Luton players off and just thought I should stay for the presentation.
“Northampton have had such a good run, 23 games unbeaten, I thought it deserved to be applauded.
“My mates said they were off to the pub, when I said I was staying for the presentation I think they were a bit surprised and left me there.
“Some of the Luton players gave me the thumbs up and applauded me before they left the field.
“After they left I turned to leave myself, when suddenly I heard all this clapping.
“I turned around and the whole home stand was applauding me, it was pretty special.
“I went over to meet my mates who were in the home stand, and all the other fans were coming up and shaking my hand. I think people recognised the sportsmanship.
“My mates appreciated it as well, they were proud.
“I couldn’t believe it when the pictures went viral though, I’ve had some really nice messages from people.
“I’m happy for Northampton, they really deserved it and hopefully Luton can learn something from them for next season.”
Facebook users and football fans praised Tim’s actions online with one supporter Mel Wright saying: “This is the ultimate sporting gesture.”
Ian Brown added: “What a great bloke. He clapped team during the lap of honour and then gave thumbs up to home support in respect as he was leaving....instead of the finger! It was a great moment..you don’t see that everyday.”
Jake Clarkin put: “That’s what football is all about respect and good sportsmanship. This guy knows how it should be and is an all round real football fan!”
Northampton Town had already won Division Two when they played Luton, who are on 96 points and 12 points ahead of second place Accrington with one game to go.
Luton sit 33 points adrift and are sat mid table on 63 points.