When was the last time Sheffield Wednesday were this likeable? – Joe Crann’s Owls column

Let me caveat this by saying that, yes, it’s much easier to be nice and jovial when things are going well… But there’s definitely something about this Sheffield Wednesday group that is just so likeable.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 6:00 pm

It starts with the manager, obviously…

I’m not sure that I’ve ever known a football person – in my experience, anyway – so genuinely well-liked as Darren Moore is. It doesn’t matter who you speak to about him, he gets glowing references all over the place. Whether you’re talking on or off the record.

So it makes sense that one of the nicest men in football would want nice people in his football team, right? Well if that was the plan, it’s certainly working so far, don’t you think?

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In the last few weeks alone we’ve had club captain, Barry Bannan, giving away shirts and tickets. We’ve had Bailey Peacock-Farrell tracking down a fan to give him a pair of signed gloves. Callum Paterson shaved his head as a show of support for his mum, and Lee Gregory promised a shirt to a new-born Wednesdayite who’s currently fighting in hospital.

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Meanwhile, Jaden Brown’s been talking Air Jordans, ready salted crisps and who would win if Dominic Iorfa fought a shark (he said Big Dom), and Dennis Adeniran has been conducting interviews with a smile on his face that is just incredibly infectious.

That’s not all of the good work going on, of course. Josh Windass and Iorfa committing to new contracts despite not really being League One players is credit to both them and the club, and all the work going on behind the scenes – from the media team, from the marketing team etc. – is certainly not going unnoticed.

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But in terms of the faces we all see. The interactions we have. They all just seem like a really good group of people uniting behind a manager who, himself, is a really good person. Every player interview I do I leave going, ‘Yeah, he was lovely’, and my admiration for the group increases once again.

You add all this stuff together – the heart-warming and the slightly silly – and it just adds to the positive atmosphere around the club that has been missing for so long. Fans want these players to do well not just because they’re Sheffield Wednesday players, but because they feel part of something again. That’s not easily done, especially after how last season ended.

As I said right at the beginning, it’s easy to be nice when things are going well. And being top of the league, with three wins, four clean sheets and the best goal difference in the division is definitely classed as ‘going well’.

But I’d like to think that the wholesomeness of this group will continue even if they hit a rocky patch, because I don’t think it’s for show. I just think they’re a good bunch that are out to try and put a smile on the faces of the blue and white half of Sheffield.

And so far, they’re having a hoot.