The hidden eyes in the sky that aid Sheffield Wednesday every matchday – and helped inspire MK Dons turnaround

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Shuffling into the bowels of Hillsborough’s South Stand at half-time of Sheffield Wednesday’s clash with MK Dons on Saturday, the players had a little idea of what to expect.

Because though the tone of the conversations will change, though the themes discussed will tweak depending on scoreline, opposition and the mood of Owls boss Darren Moore, there’s a relatively steadfast formula the management team will adopt in order to get their message across.

At 2-1 down – their first 45 minute reversal in some time – Wednesday had a lot to do to push things in their favour and charge on towards a club record-equalling 19th league match unbeaten. And while the half from a defensive perspective at least was as shaky as they’d produced in a while, ‘no teacups were thrown’ in the words of Moore himself.

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Moore can unleash hell on his players when it is felt hell is warranted, but it’s not his modus operandi. His calm and detailed demeanour carries into his way of doing things in the 15-minutes turnaround.

GOAL….George Byers celebrates his and the Owls fifth goal     Pic Steve EllisGOAL….George Byers celebrates his and the Owls fifth goal     Pic Steve Ellis
GOAL….George Byers celebrates his and the Owls fifth goal Pic Steve Ellis

In the main, he told The Star, half-times at Sheffield Wednesday follow the following blueprint; “I’ll always speak to them and then Jamie [Smith, assistant manager] will speak to them afterwards to bring up some finer points on the field of play and go into places we feel can exploit the team and make us better,” he said.

“We’re always able to show them some video footage as well and that 15 minutes is used to ensure that things they may not have seen in the first half are made clearly evident.

“It’s an opportunity from a learning perspective, those 15 minutes at half-time.”

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That video footage is pulled and cut in real-time, turned around and sent downstairs for half-time viewing on a television screen placed in the changing room – which also carries opposition analysis video before the match. Some of the footage may be vast, some may be incredibly specific.

It’s put together live during matches by analysis gurus Richard Stirrup – a former non-league player of some repute – and Liam Bracken, who sit high in the South Stand usually next to first team coach Jimmy Shan.

Shan wears a headpiece that is constantly tuned into the ears of Smith, who can relay information spotted by the trio onto the field and discuss with Moore in real-time.

The effort to expose weaknesses and inspire in-game turnarounds such as that in the MK Dons clash reaches far beyond the dugout and high into Wednesday’s hidden eyes in the South Stand.

It’s a well-oiled machine.