Wednesday Promotion Hangover?
It can’t be just me that, after the “we really did it” (or “they really buggered it up..”) of last season, once the dust had settled and we’d all realised we had, in fact, been promoted, felt a bit… Underwhelmed?
Last season was unbelievable. I spent almost every game towards the end with my eyebrows hovering high above my head in utter disbelief. Winning, SCORING even, is not something I’ve come to associate with Wednesday. I’ve learnt to numb myself from the football itself and enjoy the rest of the day, in an attempt to soften the blow of another mid-table disappointment, or, gulp, worse.
||Last season felt like I’d suddenly got a secret pass to see how the other side of football live.
Those at school and college – who swanned about in their Manchester United, Newcastle, Arsenal and Liverpool shirts of the ‘90s and 2000s, sniggering at those of us who decided to bare our ‘lower league’ shirts on non-uniform days – now I could feel what they were feeling, beaming after a match, and a new concept I’d never heard of before – Winning, winning more than you lose.
I have to admit, it was only as the final day came that I’d actually gotten used to this idea. I may just have doubted, a couple of times, whether the Wednesday that I knew and (sometimes) loved, could really ‘go all the way’. I may have covered my eyes a few times and grimaced at the thought of the opposition fans cheering the goal that meant we couldn’t make it to second. I may have pictured how the playoff’s might have panned out, and it didn’t look like I wanted it to look. But then again, I may also have been sat next to the world’s worst football fan under pressure. “It’s OVER, we’ve blown it, that’s it, we had our chances, it’s over, the season’s gone, we’ve blown it”.
Being promoted is a scarce sight for some of us younger ones. Since getting a season ticket as a youngster, I’ve seen 3 relegations and only one promotion prior to last season. My Granddad used to call us “Sheffield Wednesday, nil” when I was little, and the team haven’t done much to shake that off. Maybe I am the curse – Wednesday haven’t troubled the top half of their respective league many times since my appearance on the Kop, so I can be forgiven for being in a state of scepticism about this promotion business. I’d been told it was overrated.
Well, it turns out it isn’t. Coming back from the football beaming, wanting to actually talk about THE GAME, not wanting to go home for fear we might not get a better day than the one that’s just happened, and then it happening again the week after. Oh, I could get used to this.
But now the Championship looms.
The season begins on the 18th of June. Nevermind all this preseason malarkey – the season begins when the fixtures are announced. My phone on standby, 9am appears – Who have we got on the first day? The last day? Over Christmas? Bank holiday? My Birthday? It seems like every week we have an excuse to HAVE to go to that game. No games are off limits at 9am on fixture day. It’s only later when they get chalked off for life getting in the way.
|This time I felt a bit underwhelmed, I think.
After I’d finally stopped staring at the calendar, had written them all in and had called everyone to inform them of any important ones, including Mum, who I can say was neither here nor there about Crystal Palace, Middlesborough or Bolton, I looked at the fixtures and I felt, well, a bit let down.
Having been a Championship dwelling side for quite a few seasons of my time, though, it’s hard to muster the enthusiasm we had last season to want to go to these places again. It’s not that I don’t like them, but some grounds, once you’ve seen them, you’ve seen them. Some places are associated with rubbish results or moments Wednesday fans would rather forget, or long arduous treks home with not much to suggest its worth going back. I’ve been to these grounds, I’ve been plenty of times. I’ve lost the excitement of “I can’t wait to go to..” because there are so many Championship teams we’ve played enough times to dampen the excitement to a measly “are we going or not?” – What happened to that WANT. The NEED to go? “We HAVE to go to..”.
It’s not a slight on those Championship teams, and in no way do I mean as to say Wednesday are too good to play against them, but where is the excitement in spending a Saturday in Hull? I’m not even sure people FROM Hull want to do that.
That said, I can’t pretend I’m not excited to go to Derby. I tweeted a couple of days before the fixtures were announced that it was one of the ones I was looking forward to, purely for that pub (and a few quadruple vodkas) before the game, but I can’t say as the other fixtures stand out as MUST-SEE’s.
Is it just me? Have I got promotion hangover?