Former Sheffield Wednesday winger dies after battle with illness

Derek returned to Hillsborough in 2014
Derek returned to Hillsborough in 2014
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Former Sheffield Wednesday winger Derek Wilkinson has died, the club has announced.

He passed away this morning aged 82 after a prolonged battle with ill health.

Derek Wilkinson in his hayday

Derek Wilkinson in his hayday

The tricky wideman plundered an impressive 57 goals in 231 appearances for the Owls between 1953 and 1965.

Derek was a key performer as Wednesday clinched the 1959 Division Two title, scoring 11 goals in 39 games.

He guided Wednesday to an FA CUP semi-final and a runners' up spot in the old Division One in 1959.

The Stalybridge product was described as a 'direct, pacey winger' who made an indelible mark at Hillsborough during his 12-year stay.

Another highlight for Derek came as he played against Spanish giants Barcelona for the Owls in the last eight of the Fairs Cup in 1962.

The gifted wideman was forced to hang up his boots at the early age of 29 with a persistent groin injury in 1965 and one year later, over 10,000 fans attended his Hillsborough testimonial against an All Star XI.

After football, he returned to his native Manchester and restarted his career as a French Polisher and later became a fork-lift truck driver in Stockport until his retirement in 2000

More recently, in 2014, Derek made media headlines when his home of 50 years in Ashton-Under-Lyne was severely damaged by adverse weather conditions.

Wednesdayites came together to raise thousands of pounds to ensure Derek’s house was swiftly habitable – Sheffield United supporters also contributed to the fund.

The Owls invited Derek to Hillsborough as a special guest for the Championship game against Middlesbrough in March 2014, where he saluted the S6 faithful back on his old stamping ground.