Friday, 27 January 2012

Sheffield Wednesday - Hillsborough



Sheffield Wednesday FC
Hillsborough
Sheffield
S6 1SW

0870 999 1867





Ground Number: 83
Friday 30th January 2004
Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Nationwide League Division 2







TEN FACTS ABOUT SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

1:  The club was established in 1857, making them one of the oldest clubs in football. They took their name from the Wednesday Cricket Club, who were formed way back in 1820. The cricket club itself took its name from the fact that Wednesday was the day that their founding members had off work to play cricket. The football club were generally just known as 'The Wednesday' up until 1929 when the 'Sheffield' prefix was added.

2:  At first, they only played friendly games, prior to joining the Football Alliance in 1889, winning it in their debut season. In 1892, they joined the Football League and remain there to this day. Their best finish came in 1903, 1904, 1929 & 1930 when they were twice Football League champions two seasons in a row. Their worst finish came in 1976 when they finished 20th in the third tier and only a point above dropping into Division 4.

3:  Sheffield Wednesday have won the FA Cup three times. Firstly in 1896 when they beat Wolves 2-1 at Crystal Palace, again in 1907 as they beat Everton 2-1 at the same venue and finally in 1935 when they beat West Bromwich Albion 4-2 at Wembley.

4:  The club won the League Cup in 1990. Brentford, Swindon Town, Derby County, Coventry City and Chelsea were beaten to set up a final against Manchester United. John Sheridan got the only goal of the game as Ron Atkinson masterminded a win against his former club. 

5:  Sheffield Wednesday have played four seasons in European competitions. Their best season came in 1961/62 season when they reached the Quarter Final of the Intercities Fairs Cup before losing 4-3 on aggregate to Barcelona. This was a strange competition, set up to promote cities that hosted trade fairs and was the unofficial predecessor to the UEFA Cup and eventually the Europa League.

6:  The club was a nomadic one before moving into Hillsborough and even played at Bramall before Sheffield United moved in. They've played at their current home since 1899 which is situated in the Owlerton district of the city - hence the club's nickname of 'The Owls' 

7:  Wednesday's main rivals are Sheffield United. They contest the 'Steel City Derby' and United currently hold the upper hand. They have 46 wins to Wednesday's 42 with 43 games ending in a draw. 

8:  Famous Sheffield Wednesday fans include the 1980s band Heaven 17. Their song 'Temptation' is regularly played at Hillsborough. Other famous names to pledge their loyalty to the Owls include politician Roy Hattersley, singer Jermaine Jackson and cricketer Michael Vaughan.

9:  Players to have played for both Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers include Tony Cunningham, Guy Whittingham, Cameron Dawson and Kadeem Harris. The Owls have won three out of four games against the Chairboys with Wycombe gaining a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough in January 2004.

10: The city of Sheffield has a population of around 600,000 and has a number of brilliant pubs. Its history is in steel. Other famous sporting events in the town include the snooker tournament at the Crucible and Sheffield Steelers, the UK's first-ever professional Ice Hockey team. There are plenty of smaller teams in the city too including non-league Sheffield FC and Hallam FC.

MY VISITS

During the 2003/04 season, both of the games between Wycombe Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday were shown live on Sky Sports. Wednesday had overrun Wycombe at Adams Park and this was the ideal opportunity for Wycombe to gain revenge. I travelled up on Friday afternoon on the supporters' coach along with a load of mates who I usually went with. We got there about an hour before kick-off and so after a look around outside the ground, we made our way in. Wycombe were in dreamland after only two minutes when Ian Simpemba gave them the lead, but knocked himself out in the process and had to go to the hospital. Thankfully though, he was OK. Wycombe continued to have chances but couldn't add to their lead. Adam Proudlock equalised for the Owls after 61 minutes, and even though Wycombe had more chances after, they couldn't manage a famous win. Still, a draw was an excellent result and one of the only high points of Tony Adams' Wycombe managerial career.


My second visit came on the last day of the 2011/12 season. I wish I'd written about it more then, rather than nine years on. Again it was the supporters' coach that got me there. This time it was all about Sheffield Wednesday and their day. Wycombe's season had been a mixed bag, we'd played OK in parts and beaten Sheffield United 1-0 and Hartlepool United 5-0 at home as well as 4-1 at Bury. However, we'd managed to lose 6-0, not once, but twice to Huddersfield Town. We'd made a good fist of staying up and had only been relegated the previous week. Wednesday meanwhile needed to win to seal automatic promotion over their cross-city rivals United. Wycombe put up a brave fright, on-loan defender Louis Laing could have given us the lead early on but he headed over. Despite some good saves from keeper Nikki Bull and some brave defending, the Owls eventually won comfortably through goals from Michail Antonio and Nile Ranger, A few Sheffield Wednesday fans came in our end and we made some new friends, as we did on the street afterwards and a few Wednesday fans even came to a Wycombe game at Rotherham the following year.




THE GROUND

HILLSBOROUGH was, of course, the location of the tragic disaster that ended the lives of 96 Liverpool fans due to barbaric fences and errors by the authorities back on 15th May 1989. As a result, it was completely rebuilt in the 1990s to comply with the Taylor Report. It was one of the best grounds in the country at the time and was used in Euro 96 for group games. All four stands are of roughly the same height. Visiting fans are usually given the Leppings Lane end which is all seated and offers decent views. On my second visit, due to a large home following, we got a corner of the ground, again views were OK.


There are some pubs near the ground, as well as takeaways, but I didn't try any when I visited. The New Barrack Tavern and The Hillsborough Hotel appear to be the pick of the pubs. There are also plenty of shops selling cans, should you wish to save money. Back at the ground, the food is the usual offering that you'd expect and the club shop has a huge range of merchandise to buy

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