The memory of super fan Derek lives on...
The name and memory of Millers super fan Derek Dalton is set to live on...
His name will appear on the disabled enclosures at New York Stadium, backed by health insurer Westfield Health, in an extended sponsorship deal with the Millers.
Derek, who died aged 45, in 1993, was struck down with polio at the age of two, and supporters will fondly remember him as someone who firmly put Rotherham United on the map. He won the Shoot Magazine Fan of the Year in 1983 and during a Royal visit, presented The Queen with a Rotherham United pennant.
Now the club is joining forces with Westfield Health to recognise Derek, who rarely missed a Millers match despite his illness, and whose kind hearted nature and terrific sense of humour touched so many lives.
Rotherham United Chairman, Tony Stewart, and Westfield Health’s Chairman, Graham Moore visited the ground along with Derek’s brother Tony where they were given a preview of the Westfield branded enclosures which carry the message: ‘In honour of Derek Dalton’.
Tony Dalton said: “We are deeply touched and honoured to see Derek remembered in this way. Rotherham United meant everything to him.”
Graham Moore said: “Derek was an inspirational person who was everything good in football. The club was so dear to his heart and he became a special friend of mine and was well-known to many others at Westfield.”
Tony Stewart said: “Derek was extremely highly thought of at the club. He became synonymous with the Millers and was instantly recognisable throughout football supporters nationwide. To acknowledge Derek within the new branding of the Westfield Health disabled enclosures at New York Stadium seems such a fitting tribute to a man that meant so much to both Westfield Health and Rotherham United Football Club."
Derek, who lived at Masbrough, Rotherham, met and was welcomed by some of the greats in the game. For his Fan of the Year award he met Jimmy Greaves, Sir Bobby Robson and Bryan Robson. He met Pele in Sheffield (pictured) and was introduced to Eusebio by Sir Bobby Charlton.