Sheffield Wednesday: Praise for response of fans after sick stunt and tragedy in same week
We’ve seen the worst followed by the very best of football this week in Sheffield
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Last Friday night the city was sickened to the core when a Sheffield Wednesday fan’s ‘banter’ with rival fans overstepped the mark. It was not just slightly offside but miles.
Dale Houghton’s idiotic and sick decision to hold up an image of adored Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery to taunt SWFC’s rivals last Friday is something he is bound to regret for the rest of his life.
It is impossible to think of a time when he will be welcome back at Hillsborough, he is facing a football banning order, he has lost his job, his community is repulsed and he will undoubtedly have lost some friends and their respect as a result of his actions that night.
But more importantly, he absolutely devastated young Bradley’s family. He was just six when he lost his brave battle with cancer so to have someone grinning and laughing while holding a photo of his beautiful face aloft is repulsive beyond belief.
They were understandably heartbroken along with every other Sunderland supporter. But that disgust was also shared by Sheffield Wednesday and tens of thousands of Owls (and Blades) across the city. And beyond.
The wider football community also came together to condemn Houghton's disgraceful decision.
But then something wonderful happened and genuine SWFC fans launched a fundraising page for the charity set up by Bradley’s family after his tragic death, with over £28,000 raised so far to keep the memory of that beloved little boy alive.
The charity supports and fundraises for children needing medical equipment or treatment not available on the NHS.
There was more heartbreak at Sheffield Wednesday this week when the five-year-old Jude Mellon-Jameson, son of former Owls goalkeeper Arron Jameson, passed away after his own brave cancer battle. He had exactly the same condition as little Bradley.
And in response, Sunderland fans set up a fundraiser in memory of young Jude.
This is football at its absolute best. Fans uniting rather than hating.
What Dale Houghton did is unforgivable but as Sheffield Wednesday themselves said ‘through darkness shines light' and that is what we have seen.
One fan does not define the rest of the city’s Owls. The reaction of all the others in response this week has done exactly that.