Keeping it in the family - talented sons of legendary Sheffield Wednesday team-mates unite at Portsmouth 25 years later

They spent four seasons as team-mates at Sheffield Wednesday.

Thursday, 20th January 2022, 4:55 am

Now their sons are playing colleagues at Fratton Park as the Walker and Hirst footballing dynasty continues to flourish.

Des Walker spent nine years at Hillsborough, featuring 361 times, before leaving for Nottingham Forest in June 2002.

Incidentally, during his first City Ground spell, he was part of Brian Clough’s Forest side which were dumped out of the FA Cup by Pompey in March 1992.

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On that occasion, the late Alan McLoughlin netted a second-minute winner to earn Jim Smith’s men a place in the semi-finals against Liverpool.

Now his son, 25-year-old Tyler, has arrived at Pompey on loan from Coventry for the remainder of the season.

Already at Fratton Park was George Hirst, who has struck four goals in 25 appearances since joining on loan from Leicester City in August.

He is, of course, the son of David Hirst, a Hillsborough legend who played alongside Des Walker during the Owls’ Premier League years.

Tyler Walker (far right - wearing number 9) and George Hirst (far left - wearing number 19) played together for the first time at AFC WImbledon. Their fathers were Sheffield Wednesday team-mates 25 years earlier. Picture: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages

George Hirst had actually started his own career at Hillsborough, climbing through the ranks to make two first-team outings.

However, the manner of his departure for Belgian side OH Leuven in June 2018 earned the ire of Owls fans, as witnessed by their hostilities towards the striker in December’s goalless draw.

Still, Tyler Walker and George Hirst were matched in Pompey’s attack for the first time at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday evening.

Tyler Walker made his debut for Pompey on Tuesday night after arriving on loan from Coventry. Picture Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages

The goalless draw signified a quiet debut for Walker, while Hirst was substituted for Ronan Curtis on 67 minutes.

It represented the first time the families have lined-up alongside each other in a competitive game since October 1997 at Everton.

The Owls won 3-1 in that Premier League encounter, through goals from Benito Carbone (two) and Paolo Di Canio.

Des Walker started the match, while David Hirst was introduced for Mark Pembridge in the 72nd minute.

Sheffield Wednesday defender Des Walker, father of Tyler, challenges Liverpool's Michael Owen in a Premier League match in May 1997. Picture: Mark Thompson/Allsport/Getty Images

Also appearing for the Owls that day was a certain Guy Whittingham – who will now be watching the sons of his former team-mates from the press box in his BBC Radio Solent capacity.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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