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John Hemmingham

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John Hemmingham
Born John Hemmingham
(1963-02-26) 26 February 1963 (age 55)[1]
Sheffield, England[2]
Other names "Hema"[1]
Occupation Commercial manager
Known for Leader of the Pukka Pies England Band

John Hemmingham (born 26 February 1963) is an association football supporter and football administrator from Sheffield, England. He is best known as the leader and trumpet player of the Pukka Pies England Band.[3] Hemmingham first started playing music at football in 1993 with Sheffield Wednesday fans. In 1996, he was invited to play at England national football team matches. He has since played at other sporting events including the Olympics and boxing matches.

Hemmingham also works in football administration. He started in 2001 as the chief executive of The Owls Trust until a dispute with the Sheffield Wednesday chairman caused him to resign in 2004. Hemmingham then went on to work at other football clubs, including Leeds United and Mansfield Town before taking a position at Sheffield Wednesday after his relations improved with them. He also married in 2007.


Sheffield Wednesday[edit]

Hemmingham started playing music at football matches in 1993 when he took a bugle to a Sheffield Wednesday match away at Everton's Goodison Park and played the fanfare to Aida.[4] The action was noticed by local newspapers and after a phone call to Hemmingham from Sheffield Wednesday manager, Trevor Francis,[5] Sheffield Wednesday then hired Hemmingham and group of Sheffield Wednesday supporters to form an official club band which became known as the "Kop Band".[6] Although the band became popular, Hemmingham and the Kop Band have been banned from Steel City derby rivals Sheffield United's stadium, Bramall Lane a number of times. In 2002, they were banned from Bramall Lane because Sheffield United were concerned that playing music might lead to "unsafe crowd movement" and "unacceptable structural movement" by Sheffield United's safety officer.[7] In 2007, they were also banned because it was claimed by Sheffield United officials that playing music might cause structural damage to the stands to which, Hemmingham led criticism of it calling the ban "laughable".[8]


In 1996, Hemmingham, along with the Kop Band, were invited by the head of The Football Association, David Davies to form a supporters band for the England national team in time for UEFA Euro 96.[9] Hemmingham accepted and the Kop Band became known as the England Supporters Band. Since then, Hemmingham claims he has not missed an England game.[10] As well as being viewed as the leader of the band, Hemmingham is also the managing director of them.[11]

After being offered a recording deal by Virgin Group chairman, Richard Branson,[12] Hemmingham and the band released The Great Escape theme tune as singles for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000.[13] The England Supporters band then started received backing from commercial sponsors. In 2002, the band was sponsored by British newspaper, The Sun who paid for the band to fly to Japan for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.[14] In 2006, the band were sponsored by Leicester-based company Pukka Pies, becoming known as the Pukka Pies England Band.[15]

In 2010 publishers, Peakpublish announced they had signed a deal with Hemmingham for him to write two books about the formation of the England Supporters Band and his experiences with them. The books were called The Story of the England Supporters' Band[12] and Playing for England.[16]

Other sports[edit]

Hemmingham has also led the England Band to other sporting events. In 2008, Hemmingham took the band to Beijing, China during the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics to support Team GB[5] however they were not permitted to enter the Beijing National Stadium with their instruments and instead played on the streets of Beijing.[17] In 2012, during the London 2012 Summer Olympics it was announced that the England Band would be supporting both the Great Britain men's national field hockey team and the Great Britain women's national field hockey team during their matches at the Olympics.[18] Hemmingham has also taken the band to Las Vegas, United States as well as the City of Manchester Stadium to support Manchester boxer, Ricky Hatton. They have also attended Rugby sevens matches to support the England national team.[5]

Football administration[edit]

Hemmingham first started in football administration as the chief executive of an independent supporters group called The Owls Trust, which he helped establish, in 2001.[19] The Owls Trust was disliked by many Sheffield Wednesday fans and by Sheffield Wednesday chairman Dave Allen as it was perceived that it was a vehicle leading towards a takeover by Ken Bates, then chairman of Sheffield Wednesday's rivals Leeds United, as The Owls Trust controlled a large amount of shares and Hemmingham had publicly stated support for Bates.[20]

After an attempted boardroom coup by The Owls Trust to remove Allen from the chairmanship in an extraordinary general meeting in October 2004,[21] in 2005, The Owls Trust were evicted from their offices at Hillsborough Stadium, Hemmingham was banned from executive areas of the stadium[22] and The Kop Band was asked to reduce its numbers by Allen. Hemmingham's ban was then later extended to a full stadium ban from Hillsborough.[23] As a result of this, after securing an area for matchday parking, Hemmingham resigned to take a full-time position at Bates' Leeds United as head of customer services and membership.[19] This led to Hemmingham receiving death threats from Sheffield Wednesday fans.[24]

In January 2008, Hemmingham left Leeds United and in August, he was appointed as the chief executive of non-league side, Mansfield Town[10] where he oversaw the expansion of the capacity of their Field Mill stadium.[25] However, in January 2009, he left his position after three months.[26] Also in January, his relations with Sheffield Wednesday improved after Allen was no longer chairman and the new directors at the club, Lee Strafford and Nick Parker elected to remove Hemmingham's ban from Hillsborough.[23] In 2011, Hemmingham rejoined Sheffield Wednesday as the Commercial Manager of Sheffield Wednesday Ladies.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Hemmingham has been married since 2007.[28]


  1. ^ a b "John Hemmingham". Pukka Pies. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Hemmingham, John". Country Book Shop. Archived from the original on 4 May 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Euro 2012: England band 'has bulldog spirit'". BBC News. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Band Aid". The Football Association. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Owls band marches on Olympics". The Football League. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Duleep Allirajah (31 January 2002). "The Sheffield Wednesday Kop Band banned". Spiked Online. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Brassed off Band". The Mirror (The Free Library). Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "All the top football stories". The Sun. 3 August 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Heard, Chris (19 August 2004). "Great Escape soccer fans' tribute". BBC News. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Stags chief settling into role". BBC Sport. 23 September 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "Drum rhythm on song for World Cup success". Durham University. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "The Story of the England Supporters' Band by John Hemmingham acquired by Peakpublish". Peakpublish. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "ChartArchive – England Supporters' Band". Chart Stats. 30 December 2012. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Band of the Rising Sun". The Sun. 3 August 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Footballs' pukka band!". BBC. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Hemmingham, John (2010). Playing for England. Peakpublic. ISBN 1907219102. 
  17. ^ "Olympic ban a sour note with band". BBC News. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Band drumming up support for Team GB". This is Leicestershire. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Thursday 2 (28 August 2008). "New Stags chief to call the tune". Mansfield and Ashfield Chad. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Owls ambition drives Bates". BBC Sport. 10 May 2004. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "Trust seek to oust Owls chairman". BBC Sport. 21 October 2004. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  22. ^ Amy Lawrence (7 November 2004). "The game that ate itself". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "Owls' banned band man is back!". The Football League. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "Owls fan's switch sparks death threats". Yorkshire Post. 21 March 2005. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  25. ^ "Mansfield building ambitious plans for future". This is Nottingham. 11 October 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  26. ^ "Holdsworth assembles Stags staff". BBC Sport. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  27. ^ "Sheffield Wednesday Women's FC vs. Liverpool Feds Ladies FC" (PDF). Sheffield Wednesday Women matchday programme. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  28. ^ Cusick, Adam (16 February 2012). "Playing for England". Quays News. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 

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