A grieving widow who went to scatter her husband's ashes in West Bromwich Albion Football Club's memorial garden has told of her disgust at finding it covered in litter.
But rather than apologise, the Premiership club has blamed the rubbish on the garden's height above sea level.
Sally Rouse believed her husband Derek would have liked nothing better than to be remembered at The Hawthorns - the grounds of the club he had supported for 49 years.
So the mother-of-three, from Washwood Heath, Birmingham, decided to scatter her 54-year-old husband's ashes in Albion's memorial garden and invited her daughters and relatives to the ceremony.
But when the former farm worker arrived at the memorial garden, she was appalled to find it in a corner next to the car park and covered in old papers, dead leaves and wooden chippings.
She said: "If I had been in Albion's position, I would have been mortified to take a grieving family to that garden.
"The club hadn't even bothered to clean up the detritus of old paper, leaves and wood lying around. It looked a sorry site and as if it had been forgotten by the club entirely. We were so distressed to see this patch of land fenced off by the car park and full of rubbish.
"The chaplain was late for the ceremony. When he did turn up he apologised for the mess and said the person responsible for the garden had been on holiday. This is distressing and shocking for a club as well supported as Albion. My husband would have defended that club to the end of the Earth and given them money he didn't have and this is how he has been treated."
Derek, a 54-year-old former emergency services call taker, had been a fan of the club since the age of five and was cremated with his Albion shirt after he died of pneumonia in April.
West Bromwich Albion blame their altitude of 551 feet (168 metres) above sea level for the rubbish. The club's director Dr John Evans said: "We are the highest football ground above sea level in the country. The geography of the ground puts us high up and means wind regularly blows rubbish in."
The club's chaplain, Rev Ken Hipkiss, has offered to contact Mrs Rouse.