There are some special people whose value cannot be measured simply by what they do on the field. With no disrespect to his considerable contribution as a player, Jose Semedo is one of those.
If Sheffield Wednesday’s season ends in glory, the headlines will almost certainly go elsewhere. And there are plenty of candidates. Jordan Rhodes is due a big goal or two and deploying him - and Fernando Forestieri – from the bench in the fifth successive win of last week is a huge statement of strength.
But the true spirit of a club is often best embodied by a player on the fringe who nevertheless is right at the centre of it. Besides, Owls fans simply won’t let this particular player remain in the shadows.
The perpetual acclaim for him is one of the most remarkable and uplifting stories in football.
“I really don’t understand it – one day I hope to ask ‘why?’” There’s the answer right there in the humble response of Semedo himself. A man who, at the less than advanced age of 32, could have been playing regularly elsewhere but chose last summer to commit again to Hillsborough where the odds were heavily stacked against him.
Well, he’s overturned them by battling to make regular appearances from the bench. Now he’s ready to take on the same challenge again. But what if that’s in the Premier League?
Surely there’s only so far a love affair that started with a move from Charlton in 2011 can possibly stretch?
Ask yourself this, though. If you were Dejphon Chansiri or Carlos Carvalhal – or, for that matter, anybody in the club – would you want to wave farewell to such an inspirational character? Or, more likely, want to keep him around the place?
That’s why, when pure football logic would suggest otherwise, I’d be surprised if the club’s longest serving player leaves whether the Owls are promoted or not.
Could he possibly turn out, albeit maybe just once or twice, in the Premier League? “I believe it,” Jose insists. “This is the drive you need to have. Never give up.”
Therein lies his worth as the perfect example for all players, which again outstrips even his value as the wholehearted, combative midfielder who, as the fans’ song says, “you’ll never get past.”
Platitudes from players to their clubs can be exactly that. This one speaks from the heart when he says: “It’s so difficult to see myself in another colour shirt in this country. Wednesday means everything to me and I strongly believe I can manage another promotion.”
Who’s going to tell him otherwise?
And if he brings boyhood pal Cristiano Ronaldo to a play-off game, as definitely planned, the momentum behind Wednesday is going
to take some stopping.
Semedo also echoes the sentiment of this column last week; that head coach Carlos Carvalhal, his fellow Portuguese, commands the unwavering support of chairman Chansiri whatever the outcome. And, you suspect,
the majority of fans.
“Carlos sees the fans like a family,” says Jose. “He mentions them in every single meeting we have.” As for the relationship with Chansiri: “They are very close. They like each other and want each other
to be successful.”
Multiply that as many times as you want in the case of Semedo and the supporters of Sheffield Wednesday.