As Wednesday edge ever closer to securing a play-off place, TWW blogger Jack Darlow relives his day in London last May…
SATURDAY 28 May 2016… not a memorable date to most but to myself, along with the rest of the Wednesday faithful, it marked the most important game we’ve attended for a long, long time.
For me, it was huge. As I am only 18, I was too young to witness to witness David Hirst banging them in every week in the Premier League or Chris Waddle smashing in free kicks at the old Wembley against The Bl***es. This is the highest position The Owls have ever finished since I have been old enough to know what football is, therefore this was the biggest game of my life. To me, this is a World Cup final.
I arrived at Meadowhall coach park before before 9am. The coach rep looked miserable and spoke with a seriously acid tongue which isn’t what I was expecting on a day like this. As she turned, I spotted a small collection of United badges on her jumper just inside her jacket. ‘She’ll be a bundle of laughs today’, I thought to myself, smugly.
I was travelling with my Grandad who I’ve sat with at every home game for 8 years, so this was a very special occasion for us to experience together. Despite living through quite a few Owls’ trips to the old Wembley he had never managed to make it there himself. So this was a first for both of us.
A tense but jovial journey later, we arrived at the coach park about two and a half hours before kick off so we had time to have a walk around Wembley Stadium. We had a few photos and chatted with one of my best mates and his Grandad for a bit before we eventually decided to make our way up Wembley Way and get to the turnstile.
As we stepped into the ground, it hit us. The atmosphere was phenomenal. It was just a sea of blue and white around us. We found our seat and met up with my cousin who was sitting next to us. Well…I say sitting, but I don’t think that happened. As we were busy catching up and having a few selfies, I heard the opening notes of ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ and my hands were at the ready. I had never heard it that loud. I couldn’t hear myself singing above the rest of the crowd, and believe me, I was really going for it.
A few inflatables came flying past before the moment arrived – it’s time for kick off.
I don’t really want to analyse the match itself too much because, let’s face it, it wasn’t a great game on our behalf. But, it was still one of my favourite matches ever. The Wednesday fans were absolutely electric, unlike the rather flat fans from Humberside. Wednesdayites had been plugged in the night before so we had 100% charge in us, we had our weetabix in the morning and made it one of if not the best turnout by any crowd ever to turn up at the home of football.
It was the greatest atmosphere I had ever experienced at any of the games I had been to and I have been going for a decade which may not seem like a lot for some readers but that is over half of my life.
Half time came and went, and the second half marked the longest and loudest rendition of ‘On Our Way’ I’ve ever heard. In fact, at one point, around the hour mark, we were officially recorded as the loudest fans ever at Wembley.
Weirdly enough, it was about five minutes after we stopped singing when Diame broke our hearts with what was, to be honest, a brilliant goal. What a heartbreaking blow it was. We knew it was going in all the way and all 8 of the ‘Ull fans cheered so credit where it’s due.
We sparked into life too hate and we were never going to score. That Jeremy Helan effort at the end may have been his last shot in football before his premature retirement. The full-time whistle went and we still cheered more than the Hull fans because we had more to celebrate. We were a mid-table team at the beginning of the season and a serious promotion contender by the end. We defied the odds and beat an excellent Brighton side… and we got to show the country just how great our fanbase is.
I was so proud of our fans that day. I still am, and the same goes for the players, Carlos and Mr Chansiri who has put so much money into this club. Let’s hope for another trip to Wembley in May and let’s do it this time…COME ON WEDNESDAY!