Alex Miller: Sheffield Wednesday can recover from their big night out - but there's vomit on the floor

Laid back, feet up, glugging champagne and shouting the odds, Sheffield Wednesday set out for the night of their lives.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 5:00 pm

It was the mid-2010s and they swaggered into the bar with their fancy clothes and new credit card and ordered the most expensive bottle in the place, sharing their wealth with all around them. The only way was up, it was felt. This was going to be the best night ever.

It all got a little bit wavy in places, but it was fun. Wednesday were the cool, out-there member of the gang, the one for which money was of less consequence, the good time guy.

A shot of Fernando Forestieri? A pint of Marnick Vermijl? An Abdi-Emanuelson cocktail? Some drinks tasted better than others, but that’s part of every truly mad session, isn’t it? The fact is it all added up as the laughs and the music got louder.

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Sheffield Wednesday are nursing a hangover since their big-spending night out, but it's one they can recover from.

Wednesday remember being at a big place in London with lots of friends but not for long and the memory, with everything that followed, is now something of a haze.

The last thing they truly remember is that pint of record-signing striker that they remember people arguing they really didn’t need. They were drunk enough, after all, and things were starting to get a little bit out of control.

Folk came and went after their attempts to sober them up but failed to do so. One went to Swansea, one back to Holland and one home to Newcastle.

And then a blackout. Nothing until November last year when the Owls opened their eyes to an EFL charge of misconduct and a sore head.

It’s that feeling of dread - we’ve all been there. How is this hangover going to play out? Will a fry-up and a coffee kill it off or are we stuck with it all day? And beyond?

As the morning after the night before stretched on, and on, and on, the headache grew and grew. As the EFL charge on the bedside table remained unresolved, it got worse still.

In the run-up to Christmas last year the waves of nausea subsided but the pain was always there, dangling in the back of Wednesday’s mind. But Christmas – sometime mid-morning in this drunken analogy – saw things go south. A long way south.

The Owls started feeling increasingly sick; sweating, hot-and-cold waves, and that bloody awful headache. Wednesday were dehydrated and weak, and nothing they tried would make them feel – or perform – any better.

And then all of a sudden in March, when they were feeling at their very worst amid a flashback of an embarrassing moment at Brentford, someone pushed the curtains closed and they managed to get some kip. A three-month kip. And in many ways, it was a glorious relief.

Awakening with a crack of sunlight breaking between the curtains, a still-rough Wednesday took a sip of water but that bursting EFL charge-inflicted headache would.. Just. Not. Go. Away.

They woke without some of the ailments that had been with them since the first stages of the night before by now, that yard of Nuhiu ale a distant memory, the late-night half-Hutchinson out of the system and others, Fletchers-flavoured liquors and Fox-tinted mixers, sweated out into the Midlands.

Another nap, then. You always feel better after that second nap.

Wednesday dreamt of new beginnings, of that glorious first breath of fresh air after a particularly rough one. They stretched out in bed hoping the whole thing would be over when they finished, that they could go about their afternoon entirely headache-free.

And then they woke up to their phone bleating. On loud. They rolled over and with one eye open they perused the call screen. It was the independent commission and they were cross.

The commission, with no regard for Wednesday’s health, say bad things happened on the big night out. The say the Owls overstepped their means, that they bought too much champagne and that when questioned at the end of the night tried to trick the taxi driver into letting them off the fare.

The world around Wednesday started spinning, their mouth dry, their head banging. They couldn’t deal with their punishment now, not when they were so poorly and vulnerable, feeling sorry for themselves and with little sign of recovery.

The hangover reached its worst in the seconds and minutes after that phonecall, and then.. the Wednesday collective leant over the side of the bed and threw up all over the carpet. A moment of acceptance. This is where we’re at. And graphic though it may be, we all know how much better you feel after a nice big sick.

Sheffield Wednesday are still in bed nursing their own hangover and make no mistake, this season starts with a steaming pile of vomit next to Wednesday’s bed. Garry Monk’s task is to nurse the club back to some sort of health, step over the considerable mess and put the club in a nice, hot shower.

They feel better already having taken on board a Manchester City Lucozade, snacks from Chelsea and Huddersfield and a couple of Paracetemol from Wigan, but they need that vital first meal – a goalscoring number nine and one or two others – for a full recovery.

Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of losing a really bad hangover, but you have to do the hard yards.

If they are able to do that, they will drink again, but like so many of their friends that came along on that exuberant night out, probably never quite as heavily.

The recovery only truly starts now. Let’s cheers to that.


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