Dickie defends club banter after abuse

Dickie Bird is a well-known figure in the cricket world
Dickie Bird is a well-known figure in the cricket world
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Cricket Legend Dickie Bird has reiterated his loyalty to hometown football club Barnsley after he received abuse on social media – for appearing to support rivals Sheffield United.

The 84-year-old, a former Test match umpire, ex-player and president of Yorkshire cricket club, was a guest of Blades chairman Kevin McCabe for Saturday’s game between United and the Barnsley at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, which the hosts won 1-0.

Mr Bird, wearing a United club tie, was interviewed before the game and his comments, described as ‘jokey’ and ‘banter’, enraged some Barnsley supporters, who posted vile abuse on Twitter.

A section of fans even demanded his statue in Barnsley town centre be torn down.

In a statement, Mr Bird said: “Some fans have been questioning my loyalty to the Tykes. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a fan for more than 80 years and have a season ticket for the club which I have had for years.

“I had been invited to the game on Saturday by Sheffield United and there had been some jokey comments about me wearing a Sheffield United tie which I was wearing as I was a guest of the club. “