It may not have been the result they wanted – but that did not stop many of the fans who watched Sheffield Wednesday’s play-off defeat at Hillsborough from feeling ‘incredibly proud’ at the final whistle.
For the many fans who were unable to get a coveted ticket to watch Wednesday battle Hull City for the final spot in the Premiership from Wembley – cheering the Owls on from Hillsborough was the next best thing.
Spirits were high as scores of fans clapped, cheered and chanted while they watched what was dubbed as the £170 million match from the stadium’s Hirst Bar.
And after their promotion dreams were dashed when Hull City snatched a narrow 1-0 victory, many said they still felt proud because Wednesday had achieved so much already just by making it to the play-off final after languishing near the Championship relegation zone in the first few months of the season.
“They did so well, I’m emotional just thinking about it,” said life-long fan Sarah Lapworth, whose great grandfather George Beech played for Sheffield Wednesday between 1897 and 1904.
The 43-year-old added: “I’m incredibly proud. I really don’t think they could have done anymore than they did.
“I think playing in this final is going to give them such confidence that they’ll make it straight into the Premiership next season.”
Jez Clegg, of Stocksbridge, said he was disappointed, but thought the Owls would be able to learn from Saturday’s game.
“They’ve never been in a play-off final of this scale before, and I think they’ll be able to grow from here. They’ve got nothing to be ashamed of with how they played,” said the 42-year-old.
He added: “They’ll be able build on the progress next season.”
Fellow fan Stephen Gill said: “I’m a little disappointed but they put in a decent performance and hopefully they’ll be able to come back next year stronger and maybe do it straight up.”
“I think next season is going to be even harder, because of the teams coming down from the Premiership, but I think we can come back from this.”
Lee Hutchinson, who watched the game at Hillsborough with his seven-year-old son Max, and father -in-law John Townend, said: “It’s been a great atmosphere here. I think the best side won today, but they can move on from this, definitely.”
Tara Curtis, 28, of Millhouses said after the game: “I’m still very proud of them, they definitely deserved to be there. I’m looking forward to next season which I think is going to go well.”