Civic reception for promotion heroes

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SHEFFIELD’S economy is set to benefit by millions of pounds as a result of the Owls’ promotion to the Championship - and the city could be in line for a double winner if the Blades are victorious in the play-offs and also go up.

The benefits of promotion were revealed by Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole as preparations are made for a city centre celebration for Sheffield Wednesday.

Manager Dave Jones and his players have been invited to a reception by the Lord Mayor on Wednesday evening. They will also make a public appearance from the Town Hall balcony during the event, which begins at 6pm.

The council is planning for thousands of people to gather outside the Town Hall.

Mr Mothersole said: “Over the course of the next season, promotion for just one of our football clubs means millions of pounds extra for the local economy - and, if both teams go up, it will be a double win for Sheffield.

“The benefit will come from bigger crowds, more interest, more meals, beer and hotel rooms being paid for.

“It will also be great to help raise the city’s profile, and is a stepping stone back to Sheffield having a Premiership club once again.”

Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore, a Wednesday fan who was at Hillsborough for Saturday’s promotion-clincher, said: “It’s great news for Sheffield that Wednesday are back in the Championship and we hope United will join them after the play-offs.

“Sheffield’s football fans deserve teams playing in the top divisions and we hope this success will lead the clubs back towards the Premiership in the near future.”

She added: “I was ecstatic after the match on Saturday - not just because I am a fan but because it is so good for the city. To see almost 40,000 people jumping up and down, shouting and cheering, is fantastic.

“We need some pleasure in our lives in tough times.”

Coun Dore added: “I hope United can also be promoted - my husband and two sons are Blades fans - and we have two great clubs.”

Fellow Owl, Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith, who was also at the Wednesday game, said: “I’m absolutely delighted for the club, the fans and players who really deserve promotion - and it’s great for Sheffield.”

Sheffield Central MP and Blades fan Paul Blomfield added: “Although I’m very disappointed United did not get the second place, it has been a quite exciting season. It would be fantastic if both clubs could go up.

“Football is a powerful brand to help promote the city and I’d like to see Wednesday and United go up through the Championship and back into the Premier League.”

The Star will be there to film Wednesday evening’s Town Hall welcome to the Sheffield Wednesday team. Log on to www.thestar.co.uk to watch the city centre celebrations.