‘Bereft of words’ - An actor’s ode to Sheffield Wednesday after Callum Paterson pie predicament

You may know him as ‘Tricky Dicky’ or Vernon Tomlin, but on on Thursday night actor Ian Reddington was just Ian - the massive Sheffield Wednesday fan. And he couldn’t have been happier.
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The former Eastenders and Coronation Street actor reached out to The Star with a little something that he wanted to say about his beloved Owls, and this is what he wrote...

I can’t get it out of my head... I can’t stop reliving that incredible night. I can’t believe it will ever be bettered. Never have I experienced such a surge of energy driving an event along.

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A fella asked me before the game why I was there, as if to find a reason for finding himself there… “Because I believe,” was my reply. He smiled, and acknowledged with his own, “Yes.”

I’m sure there’s a law that says that observing an event changes it. If there is, then to those nearly 32,000 Wednesdayites that turned up, I say thank you. I know you’ll say there have been other great sporting occasions where the crowd played their part, but – you see – this was not some corporate invested event. This was 32,000 working class people, hoping against hope, and laying down their money on what outsiders all saw a three legged horse.

It wasn’t Super Saturday in the Olympic Stadium, if you were lucky enough to afford it or win a ticket lottery, this was your mates, your neighbours. Whether from the same city or returned from exile, clocking in for a gruelling night shift.

You look for signs before a game like this… I saw ex player Mick Lyons’ face and thought, ‘This would have been a game for him’. I had a premonition of John Pearson, screaming incoherently with excitement on the radio commentary. And that very morning someone had asked me to look after a dog called Ozzie.

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Oh, and then there were the players. The manager. The staff! We were so invested that I think of us as one and the same. Darren Moore taking no racist bait, Barry Bannan, ‘willing to die out there’.

I’ve wondered since at what point parents would be telling their kids that they thought it was possible. In Newsnight style I’m calling it an eight-point turnaround on the Swing-o-meter. 4-0 down to 4-4, left Lazarus-like until the 98th minute.

Then we take pity and score one for them, only to take back the car keys and hand them the L plates. So those beautiful stars in stripes saved their final gift to us for that parade of the pardoned. The penalty shootout. We walked 500 miles and there was only 12 yards left. A masterclass of being cool under pressure. A five-star Michelin meal on top of a gut busting roast.

And so it came to pass. It was left to Darren Moore, our Messiah, to calm us with his explanation. “Preparation.”

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We were simply left to draw breath and meditate upon our own existence, which I’m sure some of you have yet to work out.

I saw Callum Paterson, the Man of the Match (of all matches), after the game. So bereft of words was I that I reached for a nearby pie, and offered it to him like a gift to a returning General.

It was over, and all those saved souls would never be the same again. A part of me thinks that the play-off final doesn’t matter, because we have already won.

And as I turned to leave I glanced back, glanced back to see Callum staring at that pie, no doubt thinking it’d warrant an explanation back in the tumultuous dressing room… So with a bemused look he left it to its culinary fate.

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