Just before Christmas, a new group of fans were introduced to Hillsborough and the Owls for the first time.
Owen Szagun, Joanne Barkley and Andy Wynn attended the game against Rotherham, experiencing live football for the first time thanks to generous donations made by members of fans’ website Owlsonline.com
The spirited Wednesdayites donated cash to purchase a Season Ticket for patients of Sheffield Children’s Hospital and their carers – a gesture matched by the club, who offered additional tickets to ensure three separate groups will be in attendance at Hillsborough for the rest of the season.
Speaking after the Millers match, Joanne Barkley, who brought Owen to S6, said it was an experience they will never forget:
“When I saw the opportunity to attend a match advertised at the clinic, which we attend each week at the hospital, I jumped at the chance, especially as none of us had experienced this before.
“I put our names down but not actually expecting to be chosen. But once we had it confirmed we felt it was a great opportunity for us to try out and something we could enjoy as a family.”
She continued: “Owen really enjoyed it and hasn't stopped talking about it since we got home, he now knows all the chants off by heart too! We had a great afternoon and to see the team win made it all the more special.”
The whole family were touched by the reception which met them at Hillsborough. They are now firmly Owls fans and looking forward to taking in another game – but for now, Joanne says the experience has benefited Owen immeasurably and she hopes for a similarly positive impact on others too.
“The decision by Sheffield Wednesday and Owlsonline to do this is a brilliant one and something I urge other families who can bring their children to do. The children and their families benefit so much from these opportunities.
“Being able to go pitchside and walk down the tunnel was a bonus, as was the photograph with the chairman, we were certainly not expecting all the added extras. We felt like VIPs!
“We all thoroughly enjoyed the day, the seats gave us a great view of the pitch and the atmosphere when the stands filled up was amazing. There was a great family club feel to the stadium.
“We are definitely looking at fixtures and are hoping to attend another match very soon.”