Hitchin Town steward Simon Edwards has become a global celebrity, after he discovered his birth Father was the world famous boxing commentator Colonel Bob Sheridan, who is thought to be worth £200 million. It has transpired that Simon is his sole heir and DNA has validated that Simon is Sheridan’s son. Bob Sheridan, who is known as “The Colonel”, is famous for his booming baritone voice and has called ringside action for over 10,000 fights; including nearly 1,000 world title bouts and 100 heavyweight title fights, which include Muhammad Ali’s most iconic fights. (Rumble in the Jungle etc).

Simon’s story has been featured on both the Sun and Daily Mail websites and has also attracted vast interest in America. Indeed Simon has been so inundated with requests for interviews, that he has had to use his father’s UK agent to help him cope with the media storm. So far he has only spoken to the Sun, TalkSport Radio and the Comet but agreed to allow me to interview him for the Hitchin Town FC website, as he is a massive Hitchin supporter as well as a steward.

Simon was born in Newham in east London and handed to a Catholic charity for adoption 7 days later. His adoptive parents lived in Hitchin and it was his adoptive grandfather who introduced him to the delights of Top Field and watching Hitchin Town. He was a lifetime Hitchin supporter and took Simon to games when he was just six years old. He continued to attend even if his grandfather could not go and went with his friend David Simmons. Simon who played football for Wymondley Park loved coming to Top Field and went to most home games. His most memorable game was the FA Cup victory over Hereford in November 1994 and he considers Shaun Marshall to be his favourite player and enjoyed Shaun’s partnership up front with Gary Williams.

Simon was away from Top Field between 2010 and 2017 when he was working in the Philippines managing a call centre with a staff numbering 3,000. But he always followed our results through the internet. When he returned to Hitchin he had to work Saturdays to start with but eventually his days changed so he could return to Top Field. He saw management committee member Kate Deller was advertising for match day stewards and Simon immediately jumped at the chance to help his local team because he wanted to put something back for all the enjoyment he had had at Top Field. He told me how much he has enjoyed the stewarding and he moves around the ground checking supporters feel safe and checking social distancing. He also liked offering any assistance he could, including speaking to opposition supporters. Simon likes the fact that Hitchin are a true community club.

Simon is equally passionate about cricket and Letchworth is his club. He has played for them since 1986 and is an all-rounder who enjoyed bowling fast in his early career before settling down to become a bowler in the mould of Australian test player Glen McGrath. His obsession with cricket was shown when flooding hit the Philippines while he was working there. He was desperate to watch the Ashes test between England and Australia but the height of the flood water meant roads were impassable. So to get to the bar to watch the test Simon swam 2 miles through the floods and was rewarded as Stuart Broad took 8 wickets. Simon also became somewhat of a local celebrity in the Philippines with his singing and he was much in demand with his speciality being Beatles songs.

Going back to Simon’s discovery of his father, he started looking in to his family tree because of his two daughters. He tracked his family to Galway and visited in 2019 where he met his cousin who had been trying to contact Simon. He found out his birth mother Rosemary Ruane had died in 1985. She was one of nine daughters and an unmarried hotel manager. After falling pregnant she moved to London to have the baby. Simon was the result of a dalliance with Bob Sheridan who was an Irish-American baseball player who was visiting his family’s land in Galway in 1985. Bob was unaware that Rosemary became pregnant with his secret son.

Simon said it was just amazing to find out who his birth father was and would have been just as blown away if he was a plumber from down the road, as opposed to a celebrity. Simon who now works in insurance as well as volunteering for the NHS has spoken to his new found father on the phone and has been sent first class tickets to fly to Las Vegas to meet him in July. When he first made contact with his father The Colonel was lost for words. He had recently lost his wife and the news he had a long lost son has given him a new lease of life. The Colonel included Elvis Pressley, Frank Sinatra and Muhammad Ali among his closest friends. Indeed Lisa Marie Pressley ( daughter of Elvis) has invited Simon to meet her and take him for a meal. Simon has also received messages from Angelina Jolie, J-Lo and the Kardashians as his story has gone viral. There will inevitably be jealousy and misinformation regarding Simon and his father is already suing the Daily Mail for a lot of money.

A film is being made about the life of The Colonel. It will be called The Eagle Has Landed and will feature Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, Ray Liotta and Eminem. The script will have to be changed to reflect Simon now being known to be the long lost son. Simon’s father is due to fly to England in October together with Mike Tyson. He will meet Simon in Hitchin and Simon hopes to take him to Top Field!

I was originally worried how the intense media scrutiny may affect Simon especially as celebrities try and get involved in his story. But he is so down to earth and level headed with his feet firmly on the ground and I am sure he will cope with the attention. He knows what is important in his life–his family (especially his two daughters), Hitchin Town FC and Letchworth Cricket Club. Any future riches are less important than finding his birth father but he did tell me he would one day like to invest in Hitchin Town FC and try to get them promoted through to the Football League. He said he would quite like to be the Roman Abramovitch of non-league football.

I hope his meeting with his father goes well in Las Vegas in July but trust he returns in time to carry out his stewarding duties at Top Field when the new season starts in August!

Roy Izzard