Smithy column: Why the Fernando Forestieri sending-off hints at the need for a mindset change

Sleeping giant or dozy sods?

Monday, 18th February 2019, 10:55 am
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 10:57 am
Wednesday's Fernando Forestieri is sent off

Of course it’s always a thrill to score in the 100th minute to nick a point from rivals your team regularly thwarts in the dying moments of games.

Feels good, natural superiority restored, as Wednesdayites might have it.

And manager Steve Bruce is right when he questions Fernando Forestieri’s sending off after his goal celebrations were deemed over-exuberant by referee Daniel England. But isn’t this all a bit embarrassing?  Furiously hailing an injury-time equaliser against a team fighting for its life?

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Is this where Wednesday are? Locked in local rivalries, over-celebrating mediocrity, fans still playing the big-city big-shots?

Steve Bruce was a  whole-hearted player who, according to his own analysis, achieved far more in his career than others considered to have more ability.

He had the discipline and desire to become a serial winner at the highest level. Sheffield Wednesday needs him and those qualities to succeed like never before

Sheffield Wednesday a sleeping giant?

Maybe, but boy do they need Bruce to wake them up.

*A lot has been said about the qualities and talent of Gordon Banks the Tinsley-born goalkeeper who died last week. In his day he was the best, no question. But he was more than a goalkeeper.

He was a man of that generation who grew up in the 1950s with a built-in sense of decency born of time and place. Steady, hard-working and reliable.

It’s just that, in his case, he happened to be a goalkeeping genius.

Anyone who to talked to him was impressed by his modesty and openness. To watch him in a changing-room before a Germany v England charity game in 1993 talking to some of the make-weight players in a room containing the likes of Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters was a joy.

He treated footballing nobodies like they were real England team-mates, encouraging and supportive as if they were his equal.

He played on the left wing that day and was one of the best players on the pitch in the company of men like Wolfgang Overath and Lothar Emmerich who could still do a bit even in their late fifties.

But no amount of football ability gives a man warmth, humility and a natural sense of responsibility. 

That comes from character and upbringing.

Gordon Banks 1937-2018, the greatest goalkeeper ever, made in Sheffield.