Family says farewell to Sheffield Wednesday stalwart

Bob Odams at his beloved Hillsborough with grandson Jake
Bob Odams at his beloved Hillsborough with grandson Jake
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A horse-drawn carriage made its way through Hillsborough Stadium last week as a special Sheffield Wednesday man was given a fond farewell.

Bob Odams was a steward at Wednesday for 42 years, and a dedicated football man.

When he wasn't patrolling the West Stand as a steward, Bob was coaching the next generation of talent.

His family and friends remembered a man whose life would revolve around the beautiful game.

Bob would make a late appearance at functions after his match-day commitments at Hillsborough were finished.

Like it was in his life, football played a big part in Bob's funeral procession on Thursday. The horses made their way from his home on Fox Hill Road, down to the stadium.

The procession headed under the South Stand, then through the West Stand, then back up to Grenoside Crematorium on Skew Hill Lane.

Two songs associated with the club, Jeff Beck's version of Hi Ho Silver Lining and Terry Curran's Singing the Blues were played in memory of Bob.

His famous gift of the gab wooed future wife Julie Howson when the couple met in Sheffield's Top Rank Suite.

They were married shortly after, and together for 46 years.

"He was funny and had a joke with everyone," Julie said.

"He always was a laugh."

His workmate Stephen Jerrison remembered a man who would always follow a 'rollicking' with a beer.

"We had that relationship," he said.

"He would always tell us to 'get em in' at the pub afterwards."

The West Stand was Bob's domain, and anybody who tried to interfere wasn't met too kindly.

"If you did something he didn't like, woe betide you," Stephen said.

But his colleagues remember a man who would always back up his fellow stewards.

Bob was once a part of Wednesday's rivals, Sheffield United, too.

He worked in the tunnel at Bramall Lane. Among other duties, he would give tickets to players' families on their behalf.

"He got to know all the United players," Stephen said.

His family and friends gathered for a drink in Bob's honour at the Park Hotel, Hillsborough, where a pint of Stella stood next to his photograph.

Bob's former workmates plan another get-together at the same location after the last match of the season, against Fulham, on May 7.

Bob is survived by Julie, son Darren and grandson Jake.