Crowds at Hillsborough set a shining example

Top scorer: But Wednesday have done well without Gary Madine
Top scorer: But Wednesday have done well without Gary Madine
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FROM the window of the rest area on The Star’s third floor where I and a few colleagues eat our sandwiches at lunchtime, there is a panoramic view to the North.

Hillsborough is a distinctive feature with the white roof of the South Stand and the blue of the Kop,

I kid you not when I say it is amazing how many times the stadium seems to be illuminated by light beaming down through a break in the clouds.

You’d have to be a fantasist to think that this was a supernatural manifestation of someone up above looking down favourably on the Owls but they approach the end of 2011 having set some shining examples in how a club can revive and thrive.

They are top of the League One attendance table with an average of 19,620.

Last Saturday’s 28,600 for the visit of Huddersfield was the division’s biggest crowd this season.

The calendar year has seen the club slide uncomfortably close to the relegation zone, last season, but undergo a rebuilding job by Gary Megson and establish themselves firmly as promotion contenders.

The annual accounts confirm that the days when the club was weighed down heavily by a debt millstone are firmly in the past and it is in a much healthier financial position, thanks to Milan Mandaric.

Finances seem to bode well for the club’s chances of maintaining or improving squad strength even further after the welcome signing of Danny Batth for the rest of the campaign.

It is easy to forget that Wednesday have kept flying high without two of their best players, Gary Madine and Lewis Buxton.

When Madine was fit and scoring goals, Owls supporters were beginning to ponder whether he could be a January target for someone.

But he has been sidelined with a broken toe at a time when clubs are making assessments before January.

It all comes to down to money, of course.

Wednesday’s accounts show a profit of £15.8 million for the year ending May 31 but I stress again that this is a figure on a balance sheet and not pounds in a bank account waiting to be spent.

Accountancy practices can seem strange to the layman such as me. For example, looking at just one element of the balance sheet, one bloc of debt used to be £21.4m. But once it has been waived post-takeover and becomes money they no longer owe, it is entered as a profit in the accounts - but no-one paid them £21.4m.

Balance sheets can be used to portray the health of a business, and Wednesday’s is much healthier, but they bear no real relation to the amount that a club may or may not allocate to a manager for spending on players.

They are also just a snapshot of how the business’s finances stood on May 31. On that date, the Owls had £1m in cash. But no club is going to reveal whatever transfer kitty it may or may not have, because that could affect the stance of other clubs over their players.

Finally, I wish James O’Connor all the best for his new start in America - he has always given everything for the Wednesday cause and is a nice, down-to-earth bloke.