“Does he mean me?!” - Inspirational Sheffield Wednesday debutant, Declan Thompson, on his Owls appearance and a long road to professional football

The video of Declan Thompson’s dad celebrating his son’s Sheffield Wednesday debut went viral, and the 18-year-old has now spoken for the first time since his name went global.

By Joe Crann
Monday, 11th January 2021, 4:07 pm
Declan Eratt-Thompson on his Sheffield Wednesday debut. (Pic Steve Ellis)
Declan Eratt-Thompson on his Sheffield Wednesday debut. (Pic Steve Ellis)

Thompson was diagnosed with Perthes disease (which affects the hips) as a youngster, spending time in a wheelchair and almost giving up on the dream of becoming a professional footballer.

But after years of hard work and determination, the teenager made his bow in the FA Cup over the weekend, playing his part in the Owls’ 2-0 win over Exeter City.

“It was really a shock to me,” he told the club’s official website. “My family said I had a look of shock about me when I was coming on! Andy Holdsworth turned around and told me to get ready because I’m going on and I looked at Isaac Rice as if to say, ‘does he mean me!?’ I couldn’t believe it.

Sign up to our Sheffield Wednesday newsletter

Read More

Read More
Dejphon Chansiri in no rush as Sheffield Wednesday manager hunt continues

“As I was on the side of the pitch with the board held up with my number on it, I knew I was making my family proud.”

“The lads were excellent with me the whole time – they were perfect, the whole day was surreal, like a surreal experience. I didn’t feel like I was really there, I felt I was living a dream.

“I’ve had lots of people contact me saying I’m an inspiration and when I receive these, I always message back - I always want to give something back.”

And the video that went viral? Thompson says it wasn’t just his dad that enjoyed his first steps onto a professional football field.

He added, “It was quite emotional to watch the video of my family watching me on the TV coming on. Just knowing I’ve made them that proud and you could see how much it meant.

“My grandad was the same, he’s not very well right now but I could see how happy I’ve made him. It’s what makes the FA Cup and this game so special.”

An ambassador for Steps – a leading charity working for all those whose lives are affected by childhood lower limb conditions – Thompson feels like he wants to give back.

“I was told I wouldn’t play football when I was younger,” he explained. “Now I want to be there for other young kids and help push them on and achieve what they set out to. Never say no, it’s not the end.

“I’m an ambassador for Steps and they are a fantastic organisation, a fantastic charity who help so many kids, I’m always in contact with them and looking forward to working with them more in the future.”

Now though, the youngster will be turning his attentions to this weekend’s game against Coventry City, where he may well get a shot at making his Championship debut as the lifelong Owl looks to use last weekend as just another building block on his road to success.

At five, Thompson was told that he’d never play football again… Turns out that ‘never’ is not in his vocabulary.

More Owls news

Thank you for reading this article, one of dozens we publish every single day to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative coverage of YOUR club. This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to from the football team at The Star, please consider taking out a subscription to our new discounted sports-only package. You'll find all the details at www.thestar.co.uk/subscriptions/sports.

Your support is much appreciated.