It was the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness on the 20th March. It was a day to focus on relationships, kindness and helping each other. It was also the day that Sheffield Wednesday shared photos of their most recent training session.
The smiling, happy faces of Kieren Westwood, Sam Hutchinson, Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri, back in training were enough to fill Wednesdayites with a warm glow of joy. I might even go as far as saying Owls’ fans were happy.
It makes a difference. We all know what it feels like when we’re not at our best and things aren’t going right, it’s hard to motivate yourself to do work.
Since Jose Semedo left the club, that collective smile of the team seems to have dropped week-by-week. Forestieri admitted last season that Semedo was the motivational man he turned to for help and encouragement. That character and positivity have been missing.
It was heartening to see not just our long-term injured players back in training but the lift it has given the rest of the team can only be good. Just the selection of Bannan and Hutchinson last weekend against Leeds United was enough to bring our first win in six matches. Their selection and Adthe Nuhiu.
It was good to read Bannan’s glowing appraisal of Nuhiu and what he brings to the team. Described as a “big character in the changing room,” Nuhiu’s spark against Leeds was undeniable. It was a hard-fought victory, and the release of a 91st-minute winner against Leeds was therapeutic.
With our players belatedly returning to the team and characters like Nuhiu keeping spirits up, there is a sense of relief amongst the fans. One win is not a turning point, how we continue against Preston will be.
The international break has come at a good time for The Owls. It’s a chance to take a deep breath and remember to smile every now and again.