Rams fan Niall scores X-Factor third place as part of One Direction
DERBY County fan Niall Horan and his band One Direction came third in the X-Factor final last night.
The 17-year-old and his fellow band mates failed to receive as many votes as winner Matt Cardle and second placed Rebecca Ferguson.
The band's mentor, music mogul Simon Cowell, said he was "gutted" that the boys didn't win but added it was just the beginning for One Direction.
Voters from Niall's home town of Mullingar in Ireland may have boosted him to the final but his loyalties lie at Pride Park.
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He comes to Derby whenever possible to see the team he has supported since his father, Bobby, took him to watch them when he was four.
Last night, Bobby said he was extremely proud of his son.
"Niall will be bitterly disappointed that the group hasn't won but he has still had a great series," he said.
"If he can still get some sort of contract at the end, it will more than make up for it.
"But he's done incredibly well and he and the other boys have gelled so well together – you would think they had grown up with each other and people say they are like brothers.
"We had a very good feeling he'd get through and do well when he entered but he's had a wonderful time and we're so proud of him."
Bobby said he was amazed at the fan base One Direction had built up.
"When the boys went on a homecoming tour last week, the crowds that turned out for them we're unbelievable," he said.
"All the streets and pavements were heaving with people. I've never seen anything like it before – except perhaps at a Derby County match.
"Niall's always wanted to be on the X-Factor."
One Direction were voted out following a two-night extravaganza, which saw the boys perform twice with Robbie Williams.
In the first performance, the group sang his hit single She's the One on Saturday's show. Afterwards Niall said he was the "Robbie of the band".
It was a reputation he lived up to when he shouted "Let's get hammered" after the group made it through to the final three.
On Sunday's finale, One Direction and fellow finalists Rebecca Ferguson and Matt Cardle performed with Robbie again with Take That to sing Never Forget.
And they took to the stage alone to sing Torn by Natalie Imbruglia – the first song they performed when the band was formed during the audition stages of the show.
But, when the votes were added up half-way through the two-hour show, it was One Direction who were told they would be going home, leaving Rebecca and Matt to battle for the final vote.