THE Give Sid the Ball campaign backed by The Star has been gathering momentum for weeks - and now a decision is imminent over whether to let a severely-injured Owls fan take a starring role in a Steel City derby next season.
Kevin Taylor, aged 51, from Swinton, Rotherham, is battling back from terrible brain injuries he suffered when he was attacked by a thug as he made his way home after Sheffield Wednesday’s game last season in Hartlepool.
Kevin, known as Sid, has been undergoing treatment at a specialist hospital in Chester, but has his heart set on presenting the match ball to the Owls and Blades before kick-off when the teams meet at Hillsborough next February.
The campaign was started by Dronfield builder Darryl Hancock, 41, an Owls fan who created a Facebook group after reading Kevin Taylor’s story in The Star.
Since then thousands of supporters from across Sheffield’s footballing divide have backed the call to Give Sid the Ball.
Sheffield Wednesday previously said they were unable to contact the fixture’s sponsor, who has already signed up to spend more than £7,000 on sponsoring the match ball.
But now a meeting has finally been arranged for next week.
Owls sales manager Ian Leech said: “They’re spending the money, and we can’t make the decision without asking Sid, so as soon as we get hold of him we’ll be popping the question.”
Even if Sid can’t present the ball, Wednesday and United have both promised to invite him to their grounds for the derby games they will host. If he is well enough to attend, Sid will be given VIP treatment and full hospitality.
Paul Bennett, 24, from Hartlepool, was locked up for three years for attacking Sid.