Thousands of football fans were united in grief as they paid emotional tribute to murdered schoolgirl Christina Edkins.

Staff and supporters at West Bromwich Albion’s Hawthorns ground joined in with a minute’s round of applause in memory of the 16-year-old, who was stabbed on her way to school last Thursday morning.

The tragic teenager was an avid West Brom fan, and her parents Jason and Kathleen are season ticket holders.

Members of Christina’s family were among the 20,000-strong crowd at Saturday’s game against Swansea.

The club issued a statement over the tannoy paying tribute the teenager at half-time, with both sets of fans applauding as a mark of respect.

West Brom manager Stever Clarke said: “It’s an absolute tragedy, and our thoughts go to the girl’s family.

“It’s horrific that something happens in this day and age in this country, it’s terrible.

I think the occasion was well marked by the supporters in the ground.

“Hopefully the family can take a comfort from it.”

Christina was on her way to Leasowes High School, Halesowen, from her Ladywood home when she was stabbed in the chest as she sat on the top deck of the Number 9 bus on the Hagley Road.

Hundreds of teenagers gathered at the same spot where their friend had lost her life for a vigil on Satuday.

Many arrived carrying flowers, teddy bears, notes and cards.

Friend Joe James, 18, made his way from Bristol to lay flowers at the bus stop.

The landscape gardener, who carried blooms in Christinas’s favourite colour of purple, said: “All of us have come together.

“We were with her five days ago. I remember her telling me how perfect her life was.

“If I could go back in time I’d say to her ‘You’re amazing’.”

A suspect arrested in connection with Christina’s death was sectioned under the Mental Health Act on Friday night.

Police said that the 22-yea-old had been assessed and deemed “unfit to be interviewed”.

The force defended the decision to section the suspect on Twitter, stating: “‘Sectioning’ a suspect does NOT mean investigation is over or that person had known history of mental health issues.”