Let Owls fan present ball for Steel City derby, say Waddle and Hirst

David Hirst, Chris Waddle
David Hirst, Chris Waddle
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OWLS legends have backed a campaign prompted by The Star for Wednesdayite Kevin Taylor to present the ball to the teams at next season’s Sheffield derby.

Former centre forward David Hirst and winger Chris Waddle are backing calls first voiced on The Star’s website for the loyal fan – known to fellow supporters as ‘Sid’ – to be given the honour.

The 51-year-old was left badly injured and fighting for his life after an unprovoked attack by Hartlepool fans after a Wednesday away game.

Sid – who is recovering in a specialist hospital – has pledged to be at the Wednesday versus United derby match next season.

Hirst, 43, who scored 106 goals in 294 games for the Owls between 1986 and 1997, said he thought the Give Sid The Ball campaign was a great idea.

He said: “It’s a real tragedy what happened to this lad who I know is a big Wednesdayite.

“I think for him to be able to present the ball on such a marvellous occasion would do Sid’s recovery the power of good.

“What a lift walking out on the pitch to be applauded by thousands of fans would be for him. I think it’s a brilliant idea.”

Former England star Chris Waddle, 50, who played for the Owls 109 times between 1992 and 1996, said: “One of the loves of Sid’s life is Sheffield Wednesday.

“I think the campaign to give him the ball is a great idea.

“Anything that gives him belief, confidence and something to look forward to can only be a good thing.”

Sid, of Swinton, Rotherham, was left fighting for his life after being brain-damaged by a single punch in an unprovoked attack after Wednesday played at Hartlepool last season.

Sid, who followed Wednesday at home and away, was unconscious even before he hit the ground.

He suffered devastating brain injuries and still needs round-the-clock care and is currently receiving treatment at a specialist brain injury rehabilitation unit in Chester.

Yob Paul Bennett was jailed for three years earlier this week for the attack.

Friends say Sid has made it his goal to be well enough to see Wednesday play United in the next derby.

Supporters of both clubs have flooded The Star website calling for Sid to be given the honour.

Shepperton Owl and Florida Blade simply wrote: “Give Sid The Ball.”

A Give Sid The Ball Facebook group has also been set up and already includes more than 150 members.