There are some people and players that transcend the blue and red divide in Sheffield.
Loved by one set of fans respected by the other, it’s a select group that can walk into any pub in the city and have an Owl or a Blade getting the first pint in.
This year’s The Star and Green ’Un Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Johnny Quinn, falls firmly in this category.
Nearly 200 matches for Wednesday, including a 1966 FA Cup Final appearance, is maybe bettered only by his sterling work for charity with the Johnny Quinn All Stars.
And how many promising young footballers bought their first pair for boots from one of Quinn’s sports in Stocksbridge or on Middlewood Road, near Hillsborough?
Quinn’s name is so synonymous with football in Sheffield that it comes as a surprise to find he’s actually a Merseyside lad.
Born in St Helens in 1938, Quinn will be 73 on May 30. He began his working life as a welder before being offered a contract by Wednesday after impressing with Lancashire combination club Prescot Cables.
Quinn’s progress at Hillsborough was far from meteoric as senior players’ good form and a two-year stint doing National Service restricted his first-team opportunities.
However, once Alan Brown took over as manager from Harry Catterick, Quinn began to become a regular member for the first 11 and never looked back.
During his eight years with the Owls he played in every position except for centre-half and goalkeeper, scoring 24 goals in 194 league and cup appearances. It was this versatility, coupled with a positive attitude to any setbacks that earned him the respect of his fellow professionals and supporters alike.
Despite him standing 5ft 7in tall, no-one ever looked down on Johnny Quinn.
Eighteen months after the heartbreaking 3-2 loss against Everton at Wembley in the FA Cup Final, Quinn was one of Tommy Docherty’s first signings at Rotherham United for £25,000.
‘The Mighty Quinn’ quickly became a popular figure at Millmoor, playing 114 matches for the Millers.
A free transfer to Halifax was followed by retiring as a professional in 1975. Spells in non-league with Worksop Town and Goole Town finally led to him hanging up his boots for good in 1978.
The All Stars team is Quinn’s greatest legacy. Featuring ex-footballers from around the area such as Mel Sterland, Imre Varadi, Lawrie Madden and Emlyn Hughes, the team raised thousands of pounds for charity.
Quinn pulled out as a figurehead in May 2006 but the team will always be associated with the man who has given so much to football in the city.
Look out for The Star and Green ’Un Football Awards supplement on Monday.