My Favourite Player: When an 11-year-old witnessed 2am beers at the pool table with Sheffield Wednesday full-back Mel Sterland

They say to never meet your heroes as you’ll end up disappointed, but in part five of our ‘My Favourite Player’ series, lifelong Wednesdayite Lee Brown explains his adulation for Mel Sterland.
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His first encounter with his ultimate Owls icon came as a bleary-eyed 11-year-old dragged downstairs to watch the man they nicknamed ‘Zico’ take on his dad at pool.

“My love affair with football and Wednesday started in April 1984,” Lee explains. “I was nine years old and my grandad took me to my first game on the day Zico smashed home a penalty against Crystal Palace to send us back to the top flight. I was hooked.

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“What a sight he was, flying down the wing, his long curly hair like his Brazilian namesake, direct, committed, strong.

“Two years later Mel turned up at my house at 2am in the morning after having a few beers with my Dad, I was woken up for a few games of pool with my hero. To this day I can’t be sure if it was a dream or not!

“In the late 1990s I became a coach at Rotherham Utd FITC and Mel came to work for us a bit. I couldn’t believe I was working alongside my hero.

“I was totally starstruck, he was just as charismatic as ever and I learnt more from him than the kids, I’m sure. I hung on every word he said.”