THE shocked family of a Greenock lad told yesterday how he narrowly escaped serious injury after a bargain football bought from the town's Sports Direct store EXPLODED.

Eight-year-old Brodie Aird was in tears after the 'almighty bang' occurred in the confined space of his grandparents' car - just half-an-hour after the faulty Sondico ball was purchased from the West Stewart Street shop.

But Brodie's grandad Paul McNeill said he was left 'completely stunned' to discover that the blast came as no surprise to staff at the outlet.

Paul told the Tele: "The manager said that she could understand how loud it would be in the car as when it happened in the store, the staff always got an almighty fright. 

"I was so shocked to hear that they're aware that this can happen and they're still selling the product."

Paul, 57 - who purchased the ball as part of a two for £9 deal - said it had blown apart just inches from young Brodie's feet.

He has slammed Sports Direct and says they 'knowingly selling faulty products that could cause serious injury'. 

Paul said: "If Brodie was sitting with the football on his lap, it would have had a catastrophic effect.

"His face would have been in bits.

"They shouldn't be on the shelves."

They left the store and put the footballs in the footwell behind the driver's seat before going to the B&M shop nearby. 

(Image: George Munro)
After the trip, Paul's wife Karen was driving around the roundabout behind Greenock Sheriff Court when the family heard what Paul describes as an 'almighty bang'. 

He said: "I had never heard an explosion in close proximity before. 

"It felt like the whole car moved. 

"Brodie was really upset and started crying.

"Karen just froze and nearly lost control of the car, and we nearly went into the railings at the side of the roundabout.

"She had to pull in somewhere and that's when we realised it was one of the footballs."

Paul said the balls were sitting at Brodie's feet and luckily the force of the explosion had forced the faulty ball over into the passenger's side rear footwell. 

Brodie said he got a terrible fright when it happened. 

The youngster told the Tele: "I jumped up out of my seat. 

"I was a really loud noise and it hurt my ears. 

"I cried a wee bit and I still feel really sad about it."

(Image: George Munro)
Paul said: "The managter took all of the information from me but said that her hands were tied, and the only thing they could offer was a refund or a replacement."

Paul refused to give the faulty ball back but received a £4.50 refund for the one that didn't explode. 

He said he later contacted Sports Direct customer service and was offered a £20 e-voucher which he didn't accept. 

Paul claims the company continue to request that he sends the ball back. 

The concerned grandad now wants the product to be taken off the shelves, and has warned families against buying products from the store. 

He said: "Brodie is a goalkeeper and is football daft, and his team go through loads of footballs. 

"They've never had one explode before. 

"A lot of people will be buying footballs just now with the Euros on. 

"It could have been so much worse for Brodie. 

"I won't be buying anything from Sports Direct ever again."

The Telegraph contacted Sports Direct for comment but the company had not responded at time of going to press.