Sheffield Wednesday fans rally to help ex-Owl

Derek Wilkinson'Sheffield Wednesday FC 1961
Derek Wilkinson'Sheffield Wednesday FC 1961

Big-hearted fans of Sheffield Wednesday have don-ated thousands of pounds to an ex- Owl whose home was battered by winds.

Derek Wilkinson – a winger at Wednesday from 1953 to 1965 when he retired due to injury – has been staying in a B&B after his home and car were badly damaged by 73 ph winds.

An appeal on an online fans forum has raised £4,615 for repairs in just a few days – smashing the original target of £3,000.

And now Owls bosses have invited Derek, aged 70, to enjoy a day of hospitality at the club on Saturday for the home game with Middlesbrough – the team he played against on his Wednesday debut.

Owls fan David Hush, who contacted the club and was the first to donate to the appeal, said: “My dad always spoke about Derek and how good a winger he was.

“When I heard about his house I just felt sorry for him. He was part of the club when they had a really top side.

“Back then footballers were not on the wages they get now – if he was playing today he would be a multi-millionaire.

“The response to the appeal has been good and I’m glad it hasn’t stopped at the £3,000 mark – several people have donated £100 each.”

Derek was evacuated with neighbours in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester, where he has lived for 50 years, when a violent storm brought down brickwork and trees.

The Professional Footballers’ Association has also been alerted to Derek’s situation and agreed to pay any bed and breakfast costs.

The appeal was set up as Derek was not insured.

The post by a friend added: “Derek wanted to say how overwhelmed he is with all the responses and donations.

“He is genuinely touched by the fact so many people remember him from his playing days but said: ‘I was only part of a great Wednesday team’.

“Derek and I cannot thank everyone enough for this unbelievable response.”

n Visit Derek Wilkinson to donate.