Derby County have issued a lifetime ban to a so-called fan who trolled Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp with a vile message about the death of his infant son on Twitter.
Sharp’s son, Luey Jacob, died just two days after being born in late October 2011 from gastroschisis, which affects around 1 in 3,000 babies in the UK.
But a troll posted a repulsive message after Sharp scored the first out of two goals for United during a 3-1 victory against Derby County on Saturday.
The Twitter account, under the name of Jordan Byrne, believed to be a Derby fan, shockingly wrote ‘dead son’.
It then followed it up with ‘Billy Sharp’s son is dead’ after being confronted by another Twitter user.
Sharp, 31, responded to his tormentor by tweeting: “Don’t s*** yourself now you have made the comments”.
A statement from the Rams said: “Club officials today tracked down Jordan Byrne and interviewed him regarding the tweets which mocked the death of Mr Sharp’s infant son, Luey Jacob.
“Byrne admitted that he was responsible for the posts which were published after Saturday’s game at Bramall Lane.
“While he apologised for his actions, Derby County stand firm that behaviour of this nature is entirely unacceptable and requires strong action.
“Consequently, the club has imposed a lifetime ban on this individual which prevents him attending any Derby County games – home and away – with immediate effect.
“Derby County condemns all forms of abuse and will act quickly to punish anybody who is responsible for this type of grossly offensive behaviour.”
The account was later locked as private and the profile picture removed, before the account was deleted completely.
Earlier today, Derby apologised to Sharp and vowed to show ‘zero tolerance’ in identifying and punishing the fan.
The club’s director of communications, Paul Tyrell, said: “This is utterly repulsive behaviour which we condemn unreservedly and apologise on behalf of the club to Billy and his family for any distress caused.
“We will contact Twitter to ask them to identity the culprit and seek police advice as to what punishment we can meter out to this individual.
“We appeal to our own supporters to help us in this matter.
“If the perpetrator can be formally identified, he can expect zero tolerance and the maximum punishment from Derby County for this grossly offensive behaviour.”
The tweets were also condemned by Rams fans.
Ben Smyth wrote: “This Jordan Byrne lad deserves a good kicking. Sure many would volunteer. dcfc”
Derby County Talk wrote: “Give him a lifetime ban, @dcfcofficial.
“We don’t want our club to be associated with scum like him. Apologies @billysharp10. dcfcfans sufc.”
Luey was born on Thursday 27 October with gastroschisis – a birth defect that causes a rupture of the abdominal wall, which exposes the intestines.
Sharp was playing for Doncaster Rovers, his club at the time, against Middlesbrough in the Championship less than 72 hours after the death of his baby son.
He scored a stunning goal against Middlesbrough and memorably unveiled a message under his shirt, reading: ‘That’s for you, son’.
Sharp and wife Jade Sharp set up the LJS Foundation in his memory, to support and fund research for gastroschisis.