'No one deserves to go to a football match and not return home' – Ireland's Declan Rice pays tribute after 'innocent' West Ham fan, 18, stabbed to death walking home from match
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'No one deserves to go to a football match and not return home' – Ireland's Declan Rice pays tribute after 'innocent' West Ham fan, 18, stabbed to death walking home from match

REPUBLIC of Ireland defender Declan Rice has paid tribute to a young West Ham fan who was stabbed to death as he walked home from the club's 1-1 draw with Stoke on Monday.

Sami Sidhom, 18, was stabbed just metres from his home on Chestnut Avenue in Forest Gate, east London at around 10.50pm on Monday night.

The teenager, who was a History & Law student at Queen Mary University, is said to have been "completely innocent" when a knife-wielding gang pulled up alongside him in two cars and launched an unprovoked attack.

Hammers fans have called for a minute's applause for Sami in the 18th minute of their upcoming home game against Manchester City on April 29.

West Ham Transfers tweeted last night: "Sami was a passionate West Ham fan and season ticket holder in the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand, block 217 and on his way home from the match against Stoke he was stabbed and pronounced dead.

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"I'm calling for the support and unity of all West Ham fans and the club, to get a minute's applause in the 18th minute in our next home game against Man City, in memory of Sami. May he rest in peace".

Fan group West Ham United Independent Supporters Association (WHUISA) described the news as an "absolute tragedy".

They said: "Sami Sidhom was a West Ham season ticket holder and a promising law student at Queen Mary University. He was stabbed to death last night on his way home from the Stoke game.

"An absolute tragedy. The thoughts of WHUISA and all West Ham fans are with his family tonight. RIP".

Rice, who made his Ireland debut against Turkey last month, shared the post and added: "No one deserves to go to a football match & not return home. Please join in on the minutes applause."

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The footballer, who was born in England but has Irish grandparents, is rated by Hammers fans as the best prospect to emerge from their famous 'Academy of Football' in years.

The 19-year-old is widely seen as a future Ireland captain and has amassed an impressive 21 Premier League appearances already this season.