SHEFFIELD United have named a stand inside their ground after Jessica Ennis, the League One club announced last night.
Ennis, who claimed Olympic gold at London 2012, spoke of her delight after being informed of the decision ahead of tomorrow’s home fixture against AFC Bournemouth.
“Winning the gold medal was amazing, and to be honest still hasn’t really sunk in,” she said. “It is also wonderful and totally unexpected to have further recognition from within Sheffield and from the football club.
“I met Kevin McCabe at the civic reception in Barker’s Pool and he mentioned that the club would like to recognise me winning the gold medal. I never expected when I started out in athletics in Sheffield all those years ago that I would have a football stand at Sheffield United named after me.”
Ennis, aged 26, broke both the British and Commonwealth records en route to the Heptathlon title.
McCabe, United’s owner and plc chairman, said: “It is an appropriate and fitting tribute to re-name our Bramall Lane double tier stand after one of the finest athletes this country has ever produced.
“Jessica and her family are Unitedites and after discussions with them we all agreed that renaming the Bramall Lane stand after her would provide an additional sporting legacy from the London games, a permanent reminder that will hopefully act as an inspiration to other youngsters to come forward and achieve their dreams through sport.
“I have been fortunate enough to meet Jessica and her family. They are wonderful ambassadors for this city and sport.
“I am delighted Sheffield United and our fans can support and recognise Jessica through the re-naming of the stand.”
Ennis, who will be represented by her sister Carmel when United look to preserve their unbeaten start to the League One season against Paul Groves’ side, added: “I can’t be at the match on Saturday but look forward to coming down on a match day very soon when I can see for myself how the stand looks as well as being able to meet supporters.”
Yesterday’s development marks the latest in a long line of accolades Ennis has received since bursting on to the athletics scene.
Two years ago she received an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield having earlier been awarded its Chancellor’s Medal in recognition of her outstanding sporting achievements.