Everywhere and nowhere: How the supporters of Sheffield Wednesday continue to surpass all expectations
Nobody needs reminding that it’s been a long time since Sheffield Wednesday played in the top tier of English football.
It’s a matter of fact that comes tagged-on to every passing description of the club’s fortunes in the national media, as if to explain to the FIFA generation that the club, despite that time, is one of the biggest clubs in the country.
Sheffield Wednesday is a club that, two decades on from its last dance under the Premier League glitterballs, still feels in so many ways like a top tier club.
But why? Though Hillsborough stands proud as one of the last bastions of the great traditional football stadium, it doesn’t necessarily radiate from the club’s facilities. And with every respect owed, it’s been a couple of years since that was consistently evidenced on the field of play.
The fact is that Sheffield Wednesday is still talked up as a worthwhile entrant into Sky TV’s Greatest League In The World (TM) predominantly because of its fan base.
It’s a fact that was highlighted once more this week when, off the back of the club’s worst home defeat in nearly two decades, Wednesday supporters sold out the original 2,663 allocation for Friday’s trip to QPR, with 300 further tickets offered up yesterday.
That’s for a Friday night. In London. At a familiar ground. In January. For a match in the FA Cup, with no trains back to the Steel City that evening. It’s often said that there’s a fine line between genius and insanity.
It’s a support the competition saw a few weeks ago, of course, when despite the acceptance that Garry Monk was set to rest a number of senior players, a near sold-out allocation travelled to the south coast for that famous win at Premier League Brighton.
“Our aim is to give that noisy travelling bunch something to shout about,” Monk smiled after the following week’s away win at Leeds.
“It’s fantastic support, it’s brilliant. And that’s our aim, to send them home happy with a smile on their faces.”
More days like Brighton and Leeds are the least they can do for now. Long term, this fan base deserves its place back among the elite.