‘Angel of Alkmaar’ Chris Knolls like a child so happy with West Ham final ticket
His heroic performance went viral. Chris Knolls, now affectionately called “the Angel of Alkmaar,” made himself immortal in the eyes of all of West Ham United on May 18. On his own, he worked down the onrushing mob of AZ supporters who stormed the stands after the conclusion of the Conference League semifinal, in which the Alkmaarders were eliminated.
The AZ hooligans wanted redress for the behavior of West Ham fans in this way. They had attacked relatives of players and members of the AZ technical staff in the outward match in London when they cheered at the AZ goal before halftime.
But in their assault, they had reckoned beyond Chris Knolls. In the predicament, he emerged as the protector of the friends and relatives of West Ham players who were in the box in question.
As a reward for his performance, West Ham United donated Knolls a ticket to tonight’s final between West Ham and Fiorentina in Prague. ‘Knollsy’ (to friends) was moved to tears by this gesture. Indeed, he was desperate for a ticket to be able to shout his favorite club to the Conference League title at Eden Stadium.
The 58-year-old West Ham fan’s action was captured on several cameras and phones. Social media did the rest. A West Ham official who had met Knolls before the 0-1 win in Alkmaar called him with the good news.
Knolls, himself a father of four, told English newspaper The Mail: “You can’t imagine how happy I am. The woman from the club who called me said she sat two rows behind me in Alkmaar and saw everything happen. She thought I was very brave and that therefore I deserve a ticket to the final.”
“It’s kind of ironic that she was the one who called me,” Knolls continued. “I remember joking to her before the game if she couldn’t get me a ticket to the final if West Ham made it. I know how hard it is to get tickets, I’m so happy.”
Before West Ham’s final game of the English league, last Sunday at the London Stadium against Leeds United, Knolls received a standing ovation from the fans. It took him more than an hour to get out of the stadium afterwards, as everyone wanted to thank him for his heroic performance.
“What a reception, a standing ovation and I didn’t have to buy myself a beer today. Especially very women came up to me. It’s like I became a champion.”