Cult Blades hero’s long walk to Lane

Dave Middleton...Sheffield Unirted's"yellow man".. with friend Mark Smith
Dave Middleton...Sheffield Unirted's"yellow man".. with friend Mark Smith

He BECAME a cult hero among Sheffield United fans for his yellow jersey and reliable presence behind the Kop Stand goalposts.

But on Saturday, Bramall Lane’s ‘Yellowman’ journeyed to his beloved ground for what could be the last time – after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Dave Middleton, from North Anston, was told by doctors in May he had just eight weeks to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of gall bladder cancer.

The 49-year-old has defied expectations – and was fit enough to walk 17 miles from his home to Bramall Lane to see the Blades play Oldham Athletic on Saturday, to raise money for charity.

The dad-of-two, who worked as a building manager before illness forced his retirement, said: “The fight goes on. I’m still battling away.

“It was a shock when they told me about the cancer, but there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”

Now Dave, who is married to 48-year-old Fiona, wants to use his cause for good and hopes his reputation as a colourful piece of the Bramall Lane furniture will raise the profile of the rare disease.

He said: “Nine years ago I bought a yellow sweatshirt and said to the wife ‘I’m going to wear this every Saturday.’

“I used to go to every game when I was well and when we were in the Premier League you would just see this yellow man on TV bobbing up and down behind the goal.”

His son Zack, aged 21, and best friend Mark Smith, 51, were also among 10 bucket-carrying fundraisers who trekked to Bramall Lane, where they watched the game from an executive box donated by United.

Money raised will go to cancer charities and Weston Park Hospital, where Dave is having chemotherapy.

Mark said: “Our motto is that while Dave is battling, so are we.

“There will be some dark times ahead and we all feel helpless. We just want to do what we can for the cause.”