World of Sport

Sheffield United to name stand after Jessica Ennis

World of Sport

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Jessica Ennis

British Olympic heroine Jessica Ennis has received thousands of tributes since winning gold in the London 2012 heptathlon earlier this month.

But none of the plaudits were more unexpected than the one bestowed upon her by Sheffield United Football Club, who have renamed a stand in her honour.

The Blades - who count Sean Bean among their celebrity fans - decided that they would rename the Bramall Lane Stand the Jessica Ennis Stand, a gesture that has left the 26-year-old stunned and delighted.

"It's wonderful and totally unexpected to have further recognition from within Sheffield and from the football club," said Ennis. "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."

Sheffield-born Ennis will not be at the official unveiling of the stand's new name before the League One match against Bournemouth this weekend, but she insists that she will make it to the stadium as soon as possible to see the renamed stand for herself.

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

The stand was previously sponsored by Halliwells, a law firm which folded in 2010 after being hit badly by the recession. But rather than take the highest bid from a sponsor, this time the Blades have decided to emblazon the name of one of Britain's greatest Olympians across the top of the stand.

Club owner Kevin McCabe explained that he made the gesture to make sure that the golden girl's exploits live on.

"It is an appropriate and fitting tribute to rename our Bramall Lane double-tier stand after one of the finest athletes this country has ever produced," said McCabe.

"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, a permanent reminder that will hopefully act as an inspiration to other youngsters to come forward and achieve their dreams through sport.

"I have been fortunate enough to meet Jessica and her family. They are wonderful ambassadors for this city and sport. I am delighted Sheffield United and our fans can support and recognise Jessica through the renaming of the stand."

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Sheffield United's Jessica Ennis Stand, pictured in the days when it was sponsored by a law firm

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