Lifelong Sheffield United fan and journalist honoured with memorial plaque by Arsenal

A pioneering Sheffield-born journalist and lifelong Sheffield United fan who died last year after a cancer battle has been honoured with a number of tributes at yesterday’s game between the Blades and Arsenal.

Sunday, 19th January 2020, 3:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 19th January 2020, 3:45 pm

A gold plaque has been unveiled at the Gunners’ Emirates Stadium in honour of Sun sports journalist Vikki Orvice who was a lifelong United fan.

Arsenal invited Vikki's husband, Ian Ridley, to the directors' box for the visit of her beloved Blades, the hometown club she supported all her life.

They unveiled a permanent plaque in the Emirates press room at a seat reserved in Vikki's memory and United representatives draped a scarf over the back of the chair.

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Vikki Orvice was honoured with a gold plaque by Arsenal. (Photos: PA/Ian Ridley/Twitter).

Ian wrote on Twitter about his emotional reaction, saying: "Afraid I had a bit of dust in my eye and needed to find somewhere quiet and solitary for a while to remove it."

Arsenal had a further surprise for Ian when he reached the directors' lounge where he was presented with two special editions of the match programme.

One carried the words, "In loving memory of Vikki Orvice", the other "Arsenal welcomes Ian Ridley".

Author and novelist Ian, a former leading football writer, described the gesture as "pure class".

Vikki died in February from breast cancer at the age of 56.

She was first diagnosed with the disease in 2007 but tumours spread to other sites in her body and she was told it was incurable.

Doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital in central London then gave her chemotherapy and hormonal drugs that initially stopped the cancer advancing.

Despite the diagnosis she continued work as a full-time sports writer for The Sun travelling the world to cover events and was a strong advocate for women in football.

In an interview prior to her death, Vikki spoke of her love for the sport and how her journalistic flare began with the Blades.

She said: “I wrote about Sheffield United. That’s how I got into football. My dad used to take me. I went into news reporting. It used to be much more structured. I did a university degree, then I did an NCTJ course back in Sheffield and papers would then recruit you from there.”