Ipswich: Cheeky mascot Derry Salter, 9, becomes Twitter sensation after prank on Norwich City striker Grant Holt

IPSWICH: She is only nine years old, but Derry Salter has become an internet sensation.

The cheeky Ipswich Town supporter has put smiles on the faces of thousands of Blues fans after she plucked up the courage to play a joke on the Norwich City captain at last month’s derby clash at Portman Road.

As soon as Derry found out she had been picked to be one of the mascots at the game against the club’s arch enemies, the footy-mad youngster started planning a funny prank to play.

And so as she lined up to shake the hands of the players, Derry put her thumb to her nose and wiggled her fingers at the Canaries’ captain Grant Holt, echoing the prank played on Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard by a Chelsea mascot in 2006.

But her proud parents Sean and Claire Salter didn’t think she would actually go through with it.

Ever since Derry was born she has supported the Blues, and along with her dad and younger brother Finlay, 6, has been a season ticket holder for the last three years.

Dad Sean, of Wigmore Close, explained: “She didn’t have much choice of who to support really,” he said. “I am a life-long fan.”

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The St Marks Roman Catholic Primary school pupil said she loves watching the Tractors Boys play because “they are a really good team, and really friendly”.

“When we were walking down to shake hands with the players, I thought it would be really funny to put my thumb to my nose and waggle my fingers at Grant Holt,” she said.

“He said ‘nice trick’ to me. I picked him because he’s the captain and he scores lots of goals.”

Beaming with pride at seeing his daughter show her feelings towards the club’s arch nemesis Sean added: “I am absolutely shocked at how popular this has been.

“I posted it on twitter as a bit of a joke but already someone has set up a Facebook page and she has had more than 1,200 people like the page.”

And mum Claire added: “It is unbelievable, I am so proud of her. She is a confident little thing and she isn’t afraid to say what she thinks.

“This is great. It shows off her cheeky side.”

But the well-mannered youngster was keen to make sure people realised it was just a bit of fun.

Derry added: “I don’t want people to think I am rude, it was a joke, he found it funny too.”

A spokesman for Norwich City Football Club said the photo had raised a smile at the club.

He said: “It is all in the spirit of good fun and Grant has seen the funny side of it as well.

“Fair play to her for supporting her team, it is a nice light-hearted moment.”

n What do you think of Derry’s prank? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters @eveningstar.co.uk