"Keep fighting" - Stan Collymore shares sad health update on former Sheffield United, Aston Villa favourite

Aston Villa legend played for Sheffield United towards back end of illustrious career
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Gordon Cowans, the former Sheffield United favourite and Aston Villa legend, has moved into a nursing home amid his battle with dementia. The 65-year-old won the league title and European Cup with Villa before moving to Bramall Lane towards the back end of his playing career.

Revered as a legend at Villa Park, Cowans also won 10 England caps and despite being 37 by the time he moved to Bramall Lane under Howard Kendall, for the second half of the 1995/96 season, his class was still evident and of the 20 league games he featured in, United lost only two. At the end of that season he moved across Yorkshire to Bradford and ended his playing career at Burnley, before later returning to Villa as a coach.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cowans revealed he had early onset dementia back in 2020 with former Villa striker Stan Collymore revealing on Twitter that Cowans - known widely as "Sid" - is now in a nursing home. "As a footballer, he was one of my true heroes," Collymore said. "A majestic ball playing midfielder who was criminally underused for England but who drove us to become Champions of England and Europe. Quiet, no fuss, just oozing class and composure always.

"I saw Sid a few weeks ago at Villa Park, and although it was obvious dementia was taking an ever increasing hold, he still chatted, still instinctively knew his role amongst supporters as an icon, signing autographs and having photos, a lesson to every pro footballer today. If he can, you can.

Wilder details Prince Riyadh conversations amid "positivity" Sid, you're my hero, yesterday, today, tomorrow and for as long as I have breath in my body. You are the very best of the sport we love, the club you represented and still represent with so much grace, and the family and friends who will be by your side. All of my heroes are Villans. Keep fighting, Sid."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

One man who played alongside Cowans at Bramall Lane was midfielder Mark Patterson, who admitted he couldn't believe his luck at sharing a hotel room with a great of the game during their time together at United. Describing the signing of Cowans as a "masterstroke", Patterson said: "Sid still looked every bit the top-class player who had won the league title and European Cup for Aston Villa, and been capped by England.

"I had about 20-odd games with Sid to the end of that season and he turned out to be the best English footballer I ever played with. I would win the ball and give it to him, and he would work his magic. For all he had achieved in football, Sid was just a great down-to-earth bloke. What you saw was what you got with him."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.