Sheffield Wednesday: Megson pays tribute to Owls legend

Sheffield Wednesday have commissioned a special memorial edition of their matchday programme to former goalkeeper Ron Springett
Sheffield Wednesday have commissioned a special memorial edition of their matchday programme to former goalkeeper Ron Springett

One of the Owls’ greatest ever players has joined the football world in paying tribute to Ron Springett, who recently passed away following a short illness.

Don Megson, who spent 17 years of his playing career at Hillsborough, has described Springett as the best shot-stopper of his generation. Springett died aged 80 last weekend.

Don Megson

Don Megson

Wednesday have confirmed they plan to mark the passing of Springett at Saturday’s home meeting with Fulham.

Both sets of players will wear black armbands during the match, which will be immediately preceded by a minute’s silence. The flags adorning Hillsborough stadium will remain at half-mast to mark the passing of Springett, who was born in Fulham.

In another fitting tribute to Springett, the Owls have dedicated their match-day programme to the Londoner. Their content includes interviews with Megson and ex-Owls player, manager and chairman Howard Wilkinson. Programmes can be snapped up for £3.

Supporters can also pay their respects to Springett outside of the ground and been informed that they can leave flowers in a memorial area directly adjacent to the South Stand bridge.

Megson was a teammate of Springett’s for the best part of a decade, starting in the late 1950s.

“Ron was a top-drawer goalkeeper,” Megson, the father of former Wednesday player and manager Gary, told The Star.

“In my opinion, he was the best shot-stopper in the league in those 10 years. He was probably better than Gordon [Banks].

“He had a very unflappable personality and approach to the game.

“He never, never got upset about making a mistake. He was brilliant at getting over a mistake and not letting it affect him. You couldn’t wish for a better goalkeeper to have behind you.”

Springett went on to make 384 senior appearances for Wednesday, earning 33 England caps along the way.

He lived in London, meaning he only occasionally trained with his teammates.

“We used to have a little bit of a joke with him that the guards on the train coming up and down from London probably got to know him better than we did!” quipped Megson.

“Ron trained with us from time to time but quite often he would arrive on a Friday, play on Saturday and then he would go home. That was the arrangement he had with boss Eric Taylor and that’s how it worked for 10 years. I don’t think I have ever heard of something like that before!

“But Ron was a great lad and living in London never really impacted the affection that he was held within the team. He was always one of us.”

Springett was a top performer in the Wednesday side which regained promotion to the old Division One in 1959.

His outstanding club form culminated in international recognition. He was first-choice for his country before the emergence of England legend Banks.

Megson said: “Ron is held in the highest esteem of any of his generation.

“He played 33 times for England while at Wednesday and I don’t think that record will ever be broken.

“Wednesday fans hold him with such affection because he was so solid all the way through his career. He never caused any problems and really was a top class bloke.

“Ron was really unfortunate that Gordon came along and took his place just before the 1966 World Cup because he had been more or less the regular in the years leading up to the tournament.”

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