FOLLOWING Sheffield Wednesday isn’t easy. The lows are more common than the highs.
But that did nothing to deter an army of dedicated Wednesdayites from supporting the club over the decades – and all around the country.
Now one of those fans, Tony Cronshaw – entrepreneur, van driver, bit part actor and successful author – has published his latest work, an updated version of Wednesday, Rucks and Rock ’n’ Roll Tales From the East Bank.
It is based on real stories from the seasons 1975 through to 2002.
Told through the eyes of Tommy, a fictional character, it contains a seam of Sheffield humour as wide as The Wicker Arches.
Tony launched the book officially at a packed-out party held in The Bull and Badger pub in Killamarsh.
Based on real stories it follows a bunch of Owls – dads and lads – in a time when trouble was never far away.
It also relives experiences away from the game, when bands such The Jam, Clash, Sham 69, The Sex Pistols and The Stranglers ruled OK.
But most of all it recaptures the passion – for Sheffield Wednesday in particular.
Tony, aged 56, from Base Green, said: “Wednesday have been my football club for near on 50 years and, yes, there have been more downs than ups.
“But when we are up, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. I wanted to recall that feeling as best I could.”
Tony recalls the rucks, describing them as ‘the naughty side of the beautiful game’.
He doesn’t condone the violence but points out that for years it was simply part of the game.
Tony added: “My first encounter came at the age of 12 in 1967, when I got a bloody nose after entering the Kop straight into the middle of a brawl between the Owls fans and fans of Man City.
“In the mid-70s it was worse, with rampaging mobs descending on every town in the country. I sort of got swept up in it from about 1974 until 1981. It wasn’t big and it certainly wasn’t clever but I had just turned 18 and I thought I knew it all.”
Besides the trouble, the book describes the travelling, the camaraderie, the blood, sweat and the many beers.
But above all the laughs.
Tony said: “Who in their right mind would get up at 5.30am on a cold and frosty Saturday morning the weekend before Christmas to travel to Exeter for 90 minutes of sheer frustration when we lost 5-1?
“And then find their route home blocked by an almighty blizzard that closed the M5.
“Wednesdayites, that’s who – and they’d do it all again the following week.
“Wednesday is in our blood and when Hillsborough calls you can’t resist.
“My dad James enjoyed his first taste in 1937. I had my introduction in 1963. Back then I’d sit on the concrete ledge that ran down by the side of the North Stand. Out in the elements, the wind and rain sweeping across, it was hostile but it was ours.
“It belonged to us – if only for a couple of hours – and no-one was going to take it off us.”
n Published by Blake, Wednesday Rucks and Rock ’n’ Roll is available on line from Amazon and in all good book shops priced £7.99.