“It is every person’s right to be judged by who you are and what you do – not because you have an illness or a handicap.”
These are the words of former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Klas Ingesson. He wrote an open letter to the club he managed, IF Elfsborg, to try and divert attention away from his illness and back to the football.
This was easier said than done when Ingesson was suffering from terminal multiple myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer.
The attention is back on Ingesson’s illness after he sadly lost his fight against cancer this week. He was 46.
Ingesson signed for the Owls in 1994 as a replacement for Carlton Palmer.
At 6ft 3’ and legs with a mind of their own Ingesson looked every inch the natural heir to Palmer.
However, the Swedish midfielder seemed to find it hard to settle into Premier League football and after Francis’ departure David Pleat utilized him as a defender and sweeper.
Klas played for the Owls for just over a year. Although he may not have made a huge impact at Hillsborough he was an inspiration in Sweden.
What he lacked in technique he made up for in athleticism and enthusiasm. He became a cult national figure after the 1994 World Cup.
During his last year at IF Elfsborg he continued to be a force in football. Whilst wheelchair bound he managed from the sidelines, even breaking his thigh bone falling out of his chair during a game. Ingesson wanted to stay and watch the end of the game but he was eventually persuaded to go to hospital.
Klas Ingesson fought right until the end against his cancer and for the football he loved.
That was who he was and what he wanted to do.