A few minutes before Sheffield Wednesday’s League One season opener at Charlton Athletic, Addicks owner Thomas Sandgaard stepped onto the pitch playing the electric guitar in a moment David Brent would’ve lapped up. He went on for several minutes and not many there seemed to notice its absurdity.
It was perhaps the most notable moment of a match between two sides still very much at the ‘getting to know you’ stage in a squad transition.
That it came 20 years to the week of the original broadcast of The Office’s seminal ‘Training Day’ episode in which Brent’s famous guitar scene was broadcast is one for Gervais nerds, perhaps. But we digress. Onto the football.
A word first for the travelling Wednesday fans first, who for 518 days had been starved of beers on the train and that joyous feeling of singing their songs on the road, outnumbered. To see a packed away end full of blue and white was a thing of beauty.
After a slow start and as if we needed a reminder that football wasn’t all that important, the head injury suffered by Callum Paterson not long into the first half offered the always sobering image of a player being stretchered off the field after several minutes of treatment.
Florian Kamberi came on in his place to make his Owls bow and looked a tidy player with the ball at feet. Marvin Johnson would take this short season’s tally of debuts to eight in the second half.
New boys Lewis Wing and Dennis Adeniran pushed the ball around nicely alongside Barry Bannan, while Jaden Brown, making his full debut on the left wing, caused Charlton’s Welsh international right-back Chris Gunter several first half problems.
But the two teams started the second half in search of their first shot on target in a statistic that told its own story. These are two of many third tier teams hoping to make the jump to the Championship this season and for large periods they seemed to cancel one another out.
The trickery of Addicks number seven Diallang Jaiyesimi caused concern whenever he was able to pick up the ball in broken play, while Jayden Stockley, who could have ended up at Wednesday this summer, was served up as Dominic Iorfa’s first big battle of the season.
Charlton half-chances came and went and having snaked in and out of the home defence, Barry Bannan just pulled Wednesday’s best chance wide of the post late on.
As Brent once mused via ‘philosopher’ Dolly Parton; to get the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with a little rain. This Wednesday team will need time to gel to get to where they want to be.
Glimpses of Wednesday’s performance at Charlton Athletic were sunny, some patches were a little more overcast. But a point at the home of a fellow promotion rival is a very solid way to start their League One journey.
The forecast is optimistic.
Charlton Athletic: MacGillivray; Gunter, Inniss, Famewo, Matthews; Clare, Morgan, Dobson; Washington (Clayden, 89’), Stockley, Jaiyesimi
Subs unused: Harness, Pearce, Davison, Watson, Ghandour, Elerewe
Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell; Hunt, Iorfa, Hutchinson, Palmer; Adeniran, Bannan, Wing; Brown, Paterson (Kamberi, 16’), Green (Johnson, 64’)
Subs unused: Wildsmith, Byers, Luongo, Dunkley, Corbeanu