'Let’s bring John home' - Sunderland and Sheffield United to help raise funds for former player John MacPhail
Sunderland host Sheffield United on Wednesday evening at the Stadium of Light and both clubs are looking to raise vital funds for former player John MacPhail.
MacPhail represented Sunderland from 1987 to 1990, making 130 appearances, whilst representing Sheffield United 135 times between 1978 and 1983.
The Scottish former defender, now 67, suffered a tragic life-changing brain injury after falling down the stairs at his home in December 2021.
Medical experts are predicting he is unlikely to walk again.
Both clubs are now hoping to do their part to raise vital funds.
Since the accident, John has been unable to return to his family home in Ingleby Barwick, and funds are currently being raised to build a room back with his family which can cater for his appropriate needs.
A Sunderland statement read: “He is currently based in a room at Walkergate Park in Newcastle, receiving neurological rehabilitation after initially being left in a coma by the accident.
“A previous initiative known as ‘MacPhail’s Miles’, which encouraged people to be sponsored to walk 100 miles in honour of John, raised £20,000 through the family’s JustGiving page, but the target has now been raised to £30,000 due to rising costs. The total has recently surpassed £25,000 and counting, with John’s family desperate to get him home.
“At Wednesday’s game, it is hoped that all supporters in attendance applaud in the fifth minute of the match, with John donning the number five during much of his playing career including with the Black Cats and the Blades. John’s family will be in attendance at the game, and a big-screen message will also be present with the link to donate and support during the fifth minute.
“There are plans for collection buckets around the Stadium of Light, and we are hoping supporters can donate however much or little can be spared and as much awareness of John’s fundraiser is shared as possible.”
The club has also confirmed John’s granddaughters are set to be mascots for the game. The game is being broadcast live on Sky Sports.