Footballers are often accused in the media of being greedy, pampered individuals who are out touch with the rest of society.
But it is important to stress that there are a lot of players who support local charities and get behind various different community initiatives away from the pitch.
Christmas came early for a number of patients and poorly youngsters on Wednesday as the Owls’ first-team squad and coaching staff paid a festive visit to to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, Weston Park Hospital, St Luke’s Hospice, Cash for Kids and Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
After finishing training on Wednesday afternoon, Steven Fletcher, Ross Wallace, Lucas Joao and Frederico Venancio spent more than two and a half hours handing out presents to youngsters, signing autographs and posing for photographs at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The quartet visited a number of wards, delivering festive cheer and gifts.
Fletcher told The Star: “It was great that we could put a smile on their faces and give them a few Christmas presents.
“It was great that we could put a smile on their faces and give them a few Christmas presents.”Owls striker Steven Fletcher
“I’ve got kids myself so it is obviously not nice to see young children in hospital, especially over the Christmas period.
“It does put football into perspective.”
It promises to be a busy Christmas period for striker Fletcher.
He said: “I’ve got three young kids so it is crazy right now in my household! It is a hectic time at the moment.
“The kids have got a few presents under the tree which they think they can try and open now. But I’ve already told them Santa has to tell them when they can open them! I’m looking forward to Christmas. My kids are just getting to the age where they understand it a little more so it is good.
“I try to spend as much time with them after training as I possibly can.
“There are a lot of games over Christmas so you don’t spend as much time with your family as you would like.
“But it’s a sacrifice you have to make, especially in this job. You learn when you’re young that Christmas isn’t really Christmas anymore when you’re a footballer.
“We have a lot of games which take up you time.”