The day Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United fans turned the M1 red, white and blue

Wednesday and United’s exits from the play-offs this month jogged my memory of a high profile game between the two many years ago.

By errol edwards
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 4:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 4:04 pm
Sheffield Wednesday hero's Chris Waddle (right) and Mark Bright after winning the Sheffield United v Sheffield Wednesday FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley - 3rd April 1993
Sheffield Wednesday hero's Chris Waddle (right) and Mark Bright after winning the Sheffield United v Sheffield Wednesday FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley - 3rd April 1993 PA PIC

Although the Blades and Owls didn’t play each other and this was for a different outcome, I was reminded of one of Wednesday’s most momentous days and a momentous day for Sheffield.

In 1993 Sheffield celebrated 100 years of being granted city status.

In that year both Sheffield teams managed to get to one half the FA cup semi-finals, with Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal contesting the other leg – also a derby semi-final.

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Sheffield Wednesday v Sheffield United. Alan Cork.

At the time I was serving in the Armed Forces, based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

Even on camp there was a buzz about the FA cup semi finals as many on base were interested in football.

I was very interested but had no expectation of going to the game as tickets were scarce and a day out in London would be a dear do.

I had every expectation of watching the game on TV like many fans when my Sergeant popped his head around the door and said: “If anyone wants tickets for the semi finals give the gym a ring.”

3 Apr 1993: Alan Cork (left) of Sheffield United and Carlton Palmer of Sheffield Wednesday keep an eye on the ball during the FA Cup semi-final at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. Sheffield Wednesday won the match 2-1. \ Mandatory Credit:Allsport UK /Allsport

At first I thought it was a wind up, I had to double check what he said and then with much trepidation rang our gym enquiring about the tickets, and yes, a ticket was available.

This was the Thursday before the game so I had to quickly make plans to get to London on a trip which wasn’t anticipated.

I quickly rang round to gloat and to find out if anyone was going.

I found out my brother-in-law George was driving down from Sheffield, and we could share a car.

Saturday soon came and early that morning we set off to Wembley.

Travelling south down the M1 was one of the most memorable parts of the journey.

It felt as though everyone using the motorway that day was either a Wednesday or United fan.

It seemed every car on the motorway was adorned with blue and white or red and white or a combination of both, I’ve never seen the motorway look so colourful.

It was especially amusing seeing couples wearing blue and white and red and white, thinking that would be an interesting journey back home.

Stopping at Leicester Forest East service station was an amazing sight, seemingly taken over by the red and blue of our city. All fans mingled happily with some friendly banter, with no violence and they did their city proud. Eventually we got to Wembley – what a day for any first timers, the atmosphere was fantastic, probably never repeated .

A great day for sport as the Grand National was also to be run that day, or not? As many will know it was Wednesday’s that day, but I’m sure that day still lives on in the memories of Unitedites too.