Column: Special fans, now a crucial summer for Owls

In the end, the fans were ready but the team weren't quite.

Tuesday, 31st May 2016, 7:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st May 2016, 12:53 pm
Owls fans at Wembley...Pic Steve Ellis

The Owls were strangely muted and largely ineffective on the pitch, yet 40,000 Wednesdayites ruled Wembley off it.

Hull couldn’t get near them for volume, humour or desire.

Even their manager, Steve Bruce, was in awe:

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“The Wednesday fans were terrific. I didn’t have a clue what they were singing when bouncing up and down but they were brilliant.”

As a former Sheffield United manager he probably doesn’t need the full details ...

Though it’s been a hell of a ride for the Owls with more joy and fervour inside Hillsborough than for a decade, they are now at a crossroads.

What do they do? Stick or twist?

Do the owners throw money at it, break up this team for a ‘better’ one or do they stick with manager and players, top up the squad and hope lightning strikes twice?

BBC pundit and former itinerant professional Steve Claridge, who played in some decent promotion winning sides in his 21-club career, said before the game: “I think it’s now or never for Wednesday. I don’t see a lot of Premiership quality in that team and it would be a huge step up.”

But perhaps defeat wasn’t such a bad thing.

Perhaps they can they build on confidence and squad and have another go.

Or was that their one big chance, one that will take years to recreate and to get so close again?

Either way, the most important summer in 20 years is coming up in S6.

Just up the road in Barnsley, they rode the wave all the way and managed an even quicker turnaround than the miracle of Leicester.

Bottom of League One in December, Lee Johnson started the fightback before he was head-hunted by Bristol City.

Paul Heckingbottom and his young team finished it on Sunday in style, but after the 1-1 draw against Sheffield United Barnsley were in their lowest league position since August 1979 with one win in 11 league games and 12 defeats for the season.

To turn that into promotion in five months makes Nigel Pearson and Claudio Ranieri‘s achievements at Leicester look like they were hanging around a bit.

Another big summer in prospect at Oakwell, and the beaches and bars of Europe will be echoing to sound of the ‘Will Grigg’s on fire’ as sung by Barnsley and Hull players at the weekend.

Does anyone know why?