Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Jessica Ennis to have Sheffield United stand named after her

Jess Ennis
Image caption Ennis was welcomed back to Sheffield by 20,000 cheering fans

Sheffield United is to rename one of its stands in honour of the city's Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Jessica Ennis.

The League One club said the Bramall Lane stand would be renamed The Jessica Ennis Stand.

Club owner Kevin McCabe said it was a fitting tribute to honour Ennis' achievements during the London Games.

"She is probably Sheffield's biggest ever star. She's uplifted everyone and brought pride to the city," he said.

The club is to unveil the stand to honour the Blades supporter at a home game against Bournemouth on Saturday.

'Totally unexpected'

Mr McCabe said: "Jessica and her family are Unitedites and after discussions with them we all agreed that renaming the Bramall Lane stand after her would provide an additional sporting legacy from the London Games."

He added it would be "a permanent reminder that will hopefully act as an inspiration to other youngsters to come forward and achieve their dreams through sport".

Although Ennis will not be there for the renaming, her sister Carmel and other family members will be at the match.

Ennis said: "It is wonderful and totally unexpected to have further recognition from within Sheffield and from the football club.

Image caption The stand will be named The Jessica Ennis Stand

"I never expected when I started out in athletics in Sheffield all those years ago that I would have a football stand at Sheffield United named after me."

"I can't be at the match on Saturday but look forward to coming down on a match day very soon when I can see for myself how the stand looks as well as being able to meet supporters," she added.

Mr McCabe added that the club was hoping to make a permanent recognition "of some kind" next year to pay tribute to all of the city's athletes who competed in the London 2012 Olympics.

Ennis was welcomed back to the city by about 20,000 people on 17 August after her return from the Games.

She was presented with the Freedom of the City as well as an updated plaque on the city's Walk of Fame to acknowledge her gold medal.

The 26-year-old athlete said she had been "overwhelmed" by support since she took gold in London.

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