The moment Sheffield Wednesday's transfer window was ignited - while Harry Kane downed Denmark

The turning point came while everybody was looking the other way.

By Alex Miller
Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 11:01 pm

It was July 7, an hour or so before England played Denmark in the semi-final of the European Championships and with the timing of an elephant in tap shoes the EFL released a list of clubs that remained under a transfer embargo for a host of different reasons.

A cursory glance down said list indicated a glaring omission; Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls were open for business.

The confirmation, innocent though it surely was, was devilishly timed while all interested parties watched Harry Kane sing the national anthem – including, by the way, The Star’s Owls writing team, one of whom had to get his laptop out from beneath the table while the rest of the pub nervously gripped half-full pint glasses in knock-off England shirts.

Sheffield Wednesday have had a busy time of it in the transfer market.

And though it wasn’t the biggest story in town that night, it was perhaps the biggest moment in Wednesday’s summer transfer window; or at least the start of it.

We’d had whispers that the soap opera few months was being straightened out and that things were edging towards something more normal. David Agbotohoma had been signed for the under-23s, but there was no sign of anything more substantial. There wouldn’t be for a little while yet.

But from that point on, Darren Moore, Dejphon Chansiri and the Wednesday recruitment team got to work. And on the face of it, it’s been a hell of an effort.

Saido Berahino wandered through the door on deadline day to signal the end of silly season – though free agents can still be signed should Moore see fit.

For most League One clubs this would represent the biggest name, but not Wednesday. Berahino joins a list of summer signings you could fairly assume were that of a Championship club.

Nothing is won on paper and better squads have failed to get out of this division before – probably – but they’ve given themselves a chance at promotion few had considered just a couple of months ago. That they’ve started brightly with so many new faces is encouraging work.

Wednesday did lose out on targets keen to sign because of the delay in lifting the embargo and credit must go to players who waited that period out, especially given the hugely uncertain nature of life in the Football League after the coronavirus took hold.

The parameters the club eventually have worked under since under – essentially that they couldn’t pay transfer fees – served as a blessing in some ways, with clubs unable to hold out for an easy touch payday.

The Owls walked away from negotiations for one player having being told a fee would be required. It simply couldn’t happen, they said. They got him later in the window.

From all the uncertainty that has surrounded Wednesday for the last couple of years, there is an almost unanimous – but cautious – optimism about the place at current.

In years to come most football fans will remember July 7 as the date Harry Kane put England into the final of the Euros down at Wembley. There’s a long way to go. But maybe, just maybe, the evening was the start of a tide turning for a football team much closer to home.