After receiving a rousing send off from the 4,300-plus Wednesdayites who travelled to Molineux, Jose Semedo broke down in tears.
The Portuguese midfielder appeared to wave an emotional goodbye to Wednesday’s supporters in their ‘dead rubber’ against Wolves.
Semedo has been a magnificent servant for the Owls, clocking up nearly 160 appearances since arriving on a free transfer from Charlton Athletic.
However, his contract expires at the end of the season and he has struggled to command a regular first-team spot under Carlos Carvalhal.
Semedo, a key figure in Wednesday’s 2012 promotion-winning team, is unsure where his long-term future lies, but said: “Whatever happens, this club will always be in my heart.”
After referee Darren Bond blew the final whistle on Saturday, cries of ‘He’s magic you know, you’ll never get past Semedo’ reverberated around the ground for several minutes as Owls fans paid tribute to one of their unsung heroes. His tigerish, no-nonsense performances will never be forgotten.
Judging by the way, he spoke to the media post-match, you get the impression he knows his time is nearly up at the club he holds so dearly to his heart.
Semedo said: “I have done amazing things with this club and it is impossible not to be emotional at the end of the game to see all the fans screaming your name.
“The love the fans show to me and the love I have shown them back is something special and is unforgettable.”
In over a decade of working in sports journalism, I can safely say Jose is one of the nicest footballers I’ve ever interviewed. He is an absolute gentleman and will be sorely missed if he leaves Hillsborough in the summer.
It was fitting the 31-year-old wore the captain’s armband versus Wolves. On and off the pitch, he has led by example.
“It is always an honour to captain the club you love,” he said. “I always give my best and try to help my teammates.”
Whether he has been deployed in central midfield or asked to fill in at centre-back - as he did admirably a couple of years ago at Reading - Semedo has maximised every ounce of his ability. Wednesday and Jose have been good for each other.
Whether he gets another opportunity to continue his love affair with the Owls remains to be seen.
Carvalhal refused to be drawn on whether Semedo has played his last match for the club, saying: “It’s speculation. He’s an important player to Sheffield Wednesday. You need these kind of players in your dressing room.
“I’m very happy with Jose. He’s a player I appreciate. He has a good personality and is a good example all the time to the players here.
“Jose always tries to do his best every day. Even if he plays or doesn’t play, he pushes everybody.”
For Wednesday’s league finale, Semedo was one of 10 changes made by Carvalhal. Having already cemented a play-off spot, Carvalhal opted to rest players such as Keiren Westwood, Tom Lees, Kieran Lee and Fernando Forestieri.
Considering there was little riding on the match for either side, it was a decent contest.
Wolves had drawn their previous four home fixtures and gone over six hours without a goal on home soil.
Kenny Jackett’s men avoided the unenviable record of becoming the first team in Football League history to draw five consecutive home matches 0-0 after Michael Turner diverted Matt Doherty’s cross into his own net in the seventh minute.
Defensively, the Owls’ much-changed line-up struggled to keep full-back Doherty at bay on the left flank and he supplied a pinpoint cross for George Saville to double the hosts’ lead.
To Wednesday’s credit, they could have crumbled after going 2-0 down down but Carvalhal’s second-string side refused to buckle. After the restart, they created the better chances, with Atdhe Nuhiu twice heading over when well placed and Marco Matias flashing an overhead kick past the post.
When the Owls were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes after Doherty was adjudged to have handled Liam Palmer’s centre, there was only man the fans wanted to take the spot-kick. Cue more ‘He’s magic, you know’ chants. Ultimately, Lewis McGugan stepped up to coolly send goalkeeper Carl Ikeme the wrong way from 12 yards.
Had youngster Jack Stobbs, brought on as a late replacement for the injured Nuhiu, and Vincent Sasso showed a little more composure in the final third, Wednesday could have even snatched an unlikely point in Semedo’s possible swansong.
“I’m the luckiest man to be in this amazing family,” Semedo tweeted.
“Feel blessed and inspired. Best fans in the world. SWFC til I die. Love you all.”
Regardless of where he is playing his football next season, Semedo’s place in Sheffield Wednesday history is assured.
Wolves: Ikeme 7; Iorfa 7, Batth 8, Hause 7, Doherty 8; Price 7, Coady 6, Saville 7; Henry 6, Wallace 6 (Le Fondre HT, 6), Mason 6 (Edwards 76). Substitutes: Martinez, Deslandes, Byrne, Hunte, Enobakhare.
Owls: Wildsmith 6; Palmer 6, Sasso 6, Turner 5, Helan 6; Matias 6, Semedo 6, McGugan 6, McGeady 6; Joao 5, Nuhiu 6 (Stobbs 79). Substitutes: Price, Loovens, Hooper, Lopez, Hunt, Bannan.
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).