RESOUNDING applause echoed across the Kassam Stadium yesterday as fans on both sides of the pitch paid tribute to lifelong Oxford United fan Steve Dyer.

The 60-year-old, who died in a hospice in America on Thursday night after a long battle with cancer, grew up in Hinksey and Blackbird Leys and had been an ardent supporter of the club. He had been made the club’s 12th man for the rest of the season.

Twelve minutes into the game Mr Dyer’s photograph flashed up on the scoreboard along with the words ‘Steve Dyer, 1957-2017, Our 12th Man’ while fans broke into 60 seconds of heartfelt applause.

Sue Trafford, who runs a merchandise stand outside the main entrance to the Kassam, said it was ‘definitely’ right that the club had arranged to do something in is honour.

She said: “He was so well-thought of here. He was very poorly, but came last year and bought other people tickets.”

Mr Dyer was given just four months to live in November 2015 but fought on and attended the 2016 Johnstone Paint Trophy final with his son Steven. 

He then donated his season ticket to Helen & Douglas House Hospice in Oxford so that children could watch the next season.

Scunthorpe fans were also commended yesterday on Twitter by the U’s brigade for joining in the applause.

Fan Andy Law, 55, who travelled up to Oxford from Abingdon yesterday, said: “As fans, we all stick together.

“I’m sad he died. I didn’t know the bloke, but when it’s one of the supporters that has supported the team for a long time, you feel that you’ve lost a friend.”

Mr Dyer passed away on Tuesday. His daughter Gemma said: “He will forever be missed and loved. It would be great if the team could win the cup in his memory.”

He will also be honoured at Wembley after the Football League confirmed his name would feature alongside the players on the teamsheet on the programme.

Oxford Mail:

Steve was made the club's 12th man for the remainder of the season

The club’s managing director Greig Box Turnbull said: “Steve was an inspiration to everyone because he stayed so positive and fought so hard right to the end.” 

The lifelong United fan moved Stateside in 1986 but still followed the U’s.

Having been given four months to live in November 2015, the club made sure he had a place, along with son Steven, in a hospitality box for the 2016 JPT final, which Oxford lost to Barnsley.

After making the 3,200-mile round trip from New Hampshire for his Wembley experience, Mr Dyer said hundreds of fans had got in touch, which he believed had given him the determination to keep fighting his cancer.

His wife Carol said she was blown away at the love shown towards her husband.

She said: “I am overwhelmed for Steve, at the outpouring of love he has conjured up!

“He didn’t pass up any opportunity, and made the most of his time left – he inspired many people.”

Fans took to social media to send their best wishes to the Dyers and called for the team to win the Checkatrade Trophy against Coventry at Wembley next month in memory of Steve.

Chairman Darryl Eales said that, as well as his name appearing on all official matchday programmes this season, it would also be on the Wembley edition.

He said: “It shows we are a true football family and it is an entirely appropriate gesture as a mark of respect for Steve and the great courage he showed in his battle with cancer.

“I had the honour of meeting Steve several times and he will be sadly missed by everyone at the club.”

The club’s sponsor Liontrust also paid tribute to Mr Dyer. Chief marketing officer Simon Hildrey said: “Steve was a real 12th man for Oxford United and it would be fitting to dedicate winning the Checkatrade Trophy Final to him.

“Steve epitomised the passion of the Oxford United fans who have played a big role in the club’s recent success.”