All Wednesday and all over the world - meet the stateside Sheffield Wednesday fans who watch games with Sean McAuley
Sheffield Wednesday have one of the most committed fanbases in English football, but how hard is it to support the Owls when you live on the other side of the world?
It’s a weekly challenge for members of Owls Americas, which was formed in 2017 to unite Wednesdayites across both North and South America and has grown to 12 regional supporter groups and 23 representatives in cities across the two continents.
From Phoenix to Fort Mcmurray, the groups and city reps meet to watch games while the Owls Americas podcast provides Sheffield Wednesday opinion with an American accent.
With over 50 fans gathering to watch the Sheffield derby at New York City’s Football Factory on a Monday afternoon, it’s fair to say the Steel City’s football teams have made a mark stateside.
For Mike Lauruhn of Portland Wednesday, matchdays often mean an early start to watch games.
“Out here, typical kick-off is 7am,” he said. “If we are not meeting as a group, I’ll actually wake-up a little before 6am, tune into Radio Sheffield and listen for the team news while getting breakfast.
“The Portland group tries to get together between 10-12 times during the season.
“We’ll meet for a few 7am games, but take advantage of the occasional late starts, which kick-off at 9:30am here. It’s always a great chance for company and a good English breakfast.
“Weekday games start at lunchtime here, so we try to make it a long lunch break from the office.”
Lauruhn says he became a Wednesdayite after a Norwich-supporting university professor introduced him to the English football pyramid outside the Premier League and from then on the Oregon native was hooked.
“Wednesday just stuck with me: the name, history, traditions, and of course, John Harkes recently playing there,” he said.
“Our group here in Portland is pretty even split between Americans and English. We have members living here who grew up in various parts of the UK: Rotherham, Ipswich, London.
Former Sheffield Wednesday loanee Leon Knight reveals story behind bus fall out with fellow Owls player and how he got the nickname Neon Light “Admittedly, I’ve never been to Hillsborough, but it’s been great for meeting people I otherwise never would have - I travel occasionally for work and have watched games in with supporters in New York and in Amsterdam.
“One of my recent highlights as a supporter was when former Wednesday coach Sean McAuley reached out to us in Portland. He was assistant manager with Portland Timbers at the time and wanted to meet with some of us and watch a match.
“He gave us a signed Wednesday kit. He joined us for a few matches during the Timbers offseason.”
With another season over and a new manager at the helm, Lauruhn is optimistic for the new campaign under Steve Bruce – but could promotion be on the cards?
“Being a part of Owls Americas can be somewhat of a cultural exchange.
“I actually thought that thinking outside the box and bringing on managers like Carlos and Jos were inspired and meant that Sheffield Wednesday were thinking differently from other clubs.
“And when Jos was on his way out, I didn’t want to see a Steve McClaren, Alan Pardew, Tony Pulis, Roy Hodgson or anyone else from the coaching carousel.
“Listening to Football Heaven, I never bought into the need for ‘an English manager who knows the league.’
“But seeing Steve Bruce’s first press conference with Sheffield Wednesday was a revelation. So much poise and confidence and reverence for the club, the league, and the task at hand.”