Comment: The soap opera summer is over - it's time for Sheffield Wednesday to play some football

Those who recall the cinematic brilliance of Sky One TV drama series ‘Dream Team’ may miss a heartbeat or two when recounting the moment Don Barker, the former manager of Harchester United, drove a car into the club’s team bus, killing everyone on-board.

Thursday, 1st August 2019, 6:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st August 2019, 9:30 pm
Atdhe Nuhiu is just one of the Sheffield Wednesday players seemingly unflustered by a dramatic summer off the field.

They might shed a tear at the memory of Harchester captain John Black being shot dead by a sniper while lifting the FA Cup with a bullet meant for star man Luis Amor Rodriguez after the club’s owner discovered he was having an affair with his wife.

Perhaps they chuckle at the recollection of the three hapless Everton fans who won ownership of the club in a raffle, or the time they sold their star winger when their chairman lost a game of cards to the owner of Spartak Moscow.

The show thrived on its own ridiculousness. Those more outlandish plot points were scattered among the standard drama series staples of extra-marital dalliances, corruption scandals and family fall-outs. The sports hacks at the Harchester Chronicle were never short of a lead.

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It ended all-too-soon in 2007 after a decade of 24-carat television gold was decommissioned. Social media campaigns begging for a return have come and gone, but for years a production companies remained unmoved.

That was, of course, until whoever wrote the script for the second-half of Sheffield Wednesday’s summer fired up the typewriter.

At times it’s been difficult to remember there is a football team somewhere in the eye of a storm whipped up by delayed accounts, departing managers and FA racism charges.

But a football team there is, impressively placed considering the carnage circling overhead. Four wins and a draw from their six cross-continental pre-season matches might not mean much come Saturday, but it is the manner that Wednesday have gone about their business that excites the optimists; fit and firing and largely in-sync.

The new boys, who’s signings feel a lifetime ago given what has followed, appear to have settled in nicely and whatever your opinion on where he should stand in the managerial weigh-in, caretaker boss Lee Bullen seems to have done a fine job in steering the good ship Hillsborough through the choppiest of waters.

They say a club’s Championship chances often lay at the door of an in-form forward and Wednesday appear to have a handful, with their wide men supplying ample opportunity. The defence, though largely untested, look to be developing an understanding.

That’s not to say all is rosy, of course. Far from it.

The club’s managerial hunt has polarised opinion and will rumble on, as will the cloud hanging over the head of Fernando Forestieri, but for many the return of meaningful football on Saturday feels a little cleansing, as if normality is slowly drifting towards S6 after a very abnormal few weeks.

Reading, Saturday’s opponents, are a side not to be underestimated. Theirs is a young side with a point to prove having been written off as relegation candidates by many pundits.

Yakou Méïté is a winger of genuine quality and Andy Rinomhota is a Yorkshire-born midfield terrier tipped for bigger things. This is the Championship, after all, and nothing comes easy.

The impressive thing about Harchester United was that for all the drama, for all the murders, the fights and the scandals, the 11 men in purple never seemed far from challenging for the top prizes out on the pitch.

It’s now over to Sheffield Wednesday to start writing their own soap opera script a positive ending.