Martin Smith column: Sheffield Wednesdayite leaves his Mark on national radio

Owls fans at Hillsborough on Saturday.....Pic Steve Ellis
Owls fans at Hillsborough on Saturday.....Pic Steve Ellis
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His accent was as thick as an old-school pint of Wards’s.

So full-on that you thought it might be a wind-up. But no, Mark from Sheffield was the real deal.

A Wednesdayite on Saturday’s BBC Five Live 606 phone-in giving the world a lesson in football, geography and steel-city confidence.

He called to tell the nation about the Owls and his feeling that this is ‘our year’ (again) and ended up reminding Britain’s football fans that Sheffield is on the up.

Show hosts Jason Mohammad and the ever-lovely Robbie Savage are normally quick to chip-in to keep the party moving but they left him to it.

Not since the ‘City On The Move’ film has Sheffield had such promotion.

After Mark had told us in glorious detail about Wednesday being the loudest-ever fans at Wembley, the city’s 70,000-plus supporters coming back in their droves to both clubs, Wednesday’s rich owners, their squad’s strength in depth and last-year’s heartbreaking play-offs he informed us that Sheffield has a bigger population than Manchester - and that the ‘forgotten football city’ is bouncing back.

“Robbie, I’ll give you a little bit of an education,” said Mark to an inquisitive but gobsmacked Savage. “Sheffield is the fourth largest city in the country. Google it, it’s all there for you.”

Mark, to his credit, passed up a chance to have a go at the Blades even when Jason lobbed him a perfect opportunity by saying “I’m working in Sheffield at the snooker and the atmosphere about the two football clubs is phenomenal. We did have a couple of United fans saying they wanted you to stay in the Championship so they could take six points off you.”

“It’s not happening,” said Mark.

“It’s taken them six years to get out of League One but I’m not going to come on the radio and bad mouth them.“There’s only one massive, up the Owls, Hillsborough’s rocking.”

Sheffield may be fourth largest city but when it comes to areas like Nottingham, Derby and even Blackburn have won more top silverware in the last 50 years than both our clubs put together.

Rayt, as Mark might say, the Blades have done their bit.

It’s up to Wednesday now. Lets ‘av it.

*You can hear marvellous Mark from Sheffield 20 minutes and 35 seconds in to Saturday’s 606 show available at: