At what would've been the end of another Sheffield Wednesday season, don't tell us football doesn't matter
There’s something about the intake of breath the seconds before thousands of people bellow the immortl line; “Hi ho, Sheffield Wednesday”.
Sat in the Hillsborough press box, the view of it being sung out from the Kop is one you never quite get used to. Arms outstretched, unbridled passion reverberating into the South Yorkshire sky, it’s one of the finest sights in English football.
And this weekend would have seen that collective intake of Wednesdayite breath one final time this season.
It’s a peculiar time, the end of the football season; melancholy, bittersweet. For many people, the year doesn’t run from January to December, it runs from matchday one to the last clash in pre-season. For many, the end of the football season represents the end of another little cycle of life.
Over the top? Perhaps. But football matters. The psychology behind it isn’t exactly subtle; it’s the feeling of belonging to something bigger than our own little lives. And the end of the football season brings joy, pain or – sometimes the worst of all – complete indifference. And that’s OK, because we get to do it all again next year.
It’s what savings are spent on, the reason why Tuesday evening trips to Luton to watch your side lose 1-0 is an experience thousands pay through the nose for.
It’s the very first sight of the grass, it’s the smell of sizzling onions, it’s the taste of a beer with your mates after a tight win. Hell, it’s the taste of a beer with your mates after a 0-0 draw.
It’s a Waddle shimmy. It’s a dad telling his son about a Waddle shimmy, the same way his dad told him about a Henderson shimmy. It’s an obsession handed down for generations.
It’s the routines, the superstitions, your breath visible in the glow of the floodlights. The derbies, the songs, that split second between a ball leaving Steven Fletcher’s foot and hitting the back of the net.
And it’s gone. For now at least, a gaping void in the lives of millions.
But it will be back. The onions will sizzle, the shimmies discussed and we’ll be flying across the country soon enough. And getting fat.