Blades legend’s greatest success is his marriage

Thomas Hoyland, former Sheffield United player
Thomas Hoyland, former Sheffield United player
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FORMER Sheffield United player Thomas Hoyland had many career highlights during his time playing with the club.

But hat-tricks and sporting glory aside, the 80-year-old ex-midfielder’s greatest achievement is his long and happy marriage to wife Constance.

Mr & Mrs Hoyland Wedding Ann

Mr & Mrs Hoyland Wedding Ann

The pair met as teenage sweethearts and today mark 60 years of wedded bliss on their diamond wedding anniversary.

Thomas, who was a Blade between 1949 and 1961, said: “I always say if I got married again it would be to Connie.

“Our marriage is my greatest success, yes.”

The happy couple, now of Crookes, first met as Thomas was a football pal of Connie’s brother.

They courted from the ages of 15 to 20, when they tied the knot at St Cecilia’s Church in Parson Cross on January 31, 1953.

And the beautiful game has remained a key focus in their lives together.

Constance, also now 80, attended matches at Bramall Lane to cheer on her husband, and their three sons also followed in his footsteps.

The youngest, Jamie, also played for United and is now a tutor for its academy.

Graham, 55, went into semi-professional football before becoming a teacher and Andrew, 58, also enjoyed the game.

Grandad-of-six Thomas, who has now turned to fishing after his sporting retirement, added: “Constance had to be a football fan really because we all played.

“I loved my time at United.

“There are a lot of memories there but one of my favourites is scoring a hat-trick against West Ham at West Ham, that always sticks in the mind.”

In more recent years the happy couple ran a newsagents at Meadowhead and a pub, The Sheldon, off London Road.

They will celebrate their anniversary with a party at the Dore and Totley Golf Club this weekend.

Thomas added: “I don’t think either of us look our age - keeping busy probably helped us stay young.

“We’ve always trusted each other and since 15 we’ve never really fallen out.

“We’ve always helped one another and I can’t say more than that.”