RAMBLE | Swansea 2 – 1 Wednesday

For some reason Swansea away was circled on the calendar as soon as the fixtures were released in that glorious summer of ’18 where Harry Maguire’s slab-head and co made us all believers again. It was the ‘silly away’ for the season. Every season, we try to do an away on the coach to some arse end of nowhere which to most people sounds like an idiotic way to spend your Saturday. But of course, those who know – know.

 

With that in mind, I sprang out of bed at 6am sharp, stubbed my toe on the corner of the bed, swore quietly to myself and, having got dressed in the dark (always risky), made my way out the front door and jumped in the car to go and pick Dad up.

 

We hopped on the coach and, with sleep in our eyes and my shirt on inside out; we were on the road to Wales.

 

We’d barely made it out of Sheffield before we were informed there’d be a DVD put in “to wake us all up”. Nothing could’ve prepared us for ‘Let it Rock’.  We were treated to a trippy time capsule that started with Free, got weird with Ginger Baker’s Air Force and peaked with Deep Purple. Certainly not to everyone’s taste (“If ye paid more than a quid for that, ye were robbed!!”) but definitely served its purpose of waking us all up.

 

It was soon time for the Wednesdayite quiz, which tested even the sternest football minds (we got 48/55) followed by good old football bingo (we didn’t win).

 

As part of the trip down to Swansea, the Wednesdayite website promised a short stop in ‘historic Monmouth’.  There may have been a slight overestimation in how long it would take us to get down because we parked up at just after 10am and weren’t due back on until 12.30. “Not to worry,” says Dad “there’s a castle we can try and find and look – there’s a bridge over there we can have a neb at.”

 

I should mention at this point that the weather seemed to have taken a turn for the worse and it was absolutely bouncing down. We weren’t exactly clamouring to get off the warm haven of the coach.

 

First stop on our historic tour of Monmouth was a trip to look at that bridge that Dad was so giddy about. To be fair, it was a very nice bridge and was the only one of it’s kind in Britain according to its fancy blue plaque.  It continued to rain sideways and all ways as we made our way through the town centre in search of the castle passing a bloke holding a plane along the way that turned out to be Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame. While studying a bronzed Rolls, it was at this point that I fell foul of a Monmouth puddle. It was like one of those comedy puddles that you step in thinking it’s a minor splash only to find you’ve stepped in a chuffin’ pot-hole of puddle and you’ve got icy water up your leg and in your shoes.

 

Not long after the puddle, we decided to halt our search for the castle and figured a big brekkie was in order to warm us up. There were quite a few options up and down the town but I was intrigued by the ‘Ultimate Breakfast’ offered up at the Happy Panda; a Chinese restaurant offering an all day English breakfast. You read that right – we were going for a traditional English breakfast in a Welsh Chinese Restaurant.  As you can see from the pic, it was quite magnificent. Bacon, black pudding, mushrooms – the works. Sooooo-poyb.

 

With the last baked bean mopped up, we were back on the coach and on our way to sunny Swansea.

 

There was an odd request from the back of the bus for some motown and lo and behold we had an hour of the Supremes on DVD. To be fair, those gals had some tunes. Their verses generally sound the same until BAM that chorus hits and you’re dancing at a wedding. An hour later as the Welsh Middlesbrough of Port Talbot came into view, mercifully, the DVD stopped (‘in the name of love’).

 

The rather underwhelming Liberty Stadium was soon upon us and was met with much misery and despair as the team news seeped through. “Why aren’t we playing Hector?”… “No Penney again.” “Fox!!!” .

From the outside, the stadium reminded me of the set-up at another of the Ikea new-builds at Stoke – near nothing in particular and designed for the least amount of fan trouble. The rain and wind seemed to have picked up as we stepped off the bus and walked a couple of yards through to the turnstile. It was definitely a day for tucking yourself in.

 

We made our way to our seats to soak up the atmosphere and quickly realised we were just getting plain soaked. We were on Row X and you don’t need a Sesame Street alphabet education to realise that’s pretty far back in any football stadium. The swirling sideways rain had made it’s way into the stadium itself and was now subjecting us to a sea spray of Bridlington prom proportions. And it was cold. So very, very cold. Sod this, let’s go get a pint.

 

Brain’s Beer – a traditional Welsh beer don’t you know – was a lovely drop and warmed us up a treat while watching a lovely lady on Swans TV preview the match. Once the brain was satisfactorily saturated by the Brain’s, I momentarily contemplated a Welsh cake but having a no idea what one of those was, zipped up my coat and bravely ventured once more into the Welsh wilds.

 

It wasn’t a great view from where we were. It looked like a glitch on your telly.

 

THE MATCH

 

The game kicked off and took a while to get going as both sides struggled to get to grips with the conditions. The ball was skidding about, players were struggling to keep their feet and passes were being over-hit. But it was the home team that settled first as they kept possession and looked to draw us out of position.

 

“Why’s Joao playing left back, Dad?”

 

It’s fair to say we were a little unbalanced as a couple of minutes later we also spotted him at right back.

 

They fashioned a couple of chances with McBurnie just heading over and Dyer going close after turning the naïve but hardworking Baker inside out.

 

Out of nowhere we suddenly had a great chance after Joao was put through by Pelupessy. Followed closely by a Swansea defender, he only had the keeper to beat but coming in from the left hand side, he decided to try and get it on his right. We willed him to shoot but for some reason he wanted another touch and so the ball along with the chance frustratingly bobbled away from him.

 

There was a finally a bit of noise from our hearty souls after Swansea’s drummer put his stick in his pocket for a bit. Not exactly a rousing rendition of Hi Ho but a rendition nonetheless.

 

The rain continued to drive down sideways mainly into the stand where the dugouts were. That icy Monmouth puddle was coming back to haunt me as it teased me with every small movement between my toes.

 

But Wednesday were warming me up no end. That Joao chance seemed to perk them up and stall the Swans. We looked organised and had a good structure with only the disappointing Onomah and missing Adam Reach playing below average. Whisper it very quietly but Fox was having a great game, supporting the attack where he could and cutting things out at the back.

 

There was another bit of good play that started on the edge of our own box with a couple of 1-2’s. The ball found it’s way out to Reach and he delivered a great cross to the back post for Nuhui to knock back to Joao who twisted and turned only to see his shot drag narrowly wide.

 

They huffed and puffed a bit but we managed to contain them until half time. Lukewarm applause from our end…

 

HT: 0-0

 

We were doing alright. Dawson was largely untroubled, we were making tackles where it counted and were looking mildly threatening up top. We were actually having quite a nice time.

 

The second half continued in the same vein as the first. The wind and rain had died down a little now and there was a menacingly beautiful purple sky, which promised to serve as an ideal backdrop for what was about to unfold.

 

Swansea defenders dillied and dallied about with the ball at the back. Now you may recall that the famous Sheffield Wednesday are big fans of this questionable technique. The nippy Matias, on for Onomah at half time, capitalised on their dallying and after briefly fouling himself, he got back off the floor and smashed a great finish by the Swans keeper.
GET IN! 0-1

 

Cue “we’re winning away…. etc” from our lot. To be honest, it was nothing more than we deserved. We were good for it and for the next 5 minutes or so it looked like we could add to that goal. However, we were about to pull a ‘Wednesday’ and knacker things up all in the space of about 2 minutes.

 

Firstly, Joao somehow found himself at left back again which resulted in a through ball that went between him and Fox like a knife through a magnificent Chinese English Breakfast fried mushroom. A simple pull back and a neat finish from the sub Celina levelled up proceedings.

 

1-1

 

Their fans were suddenly awakened from the cold. It was the first time we heard anything from those at the side of us.  We didn’t deserve to concede and suddenly that all too familiar scene started to play out before us. A ball was played over the top after we gave the ball away from the restart. It’s a foot race between Routledge and my man Fox from the first half and Routledge had a head start. Sadly you could almost see him melting into the Fox we all know and are comfortable with. He lost his battle and Routledge finished well.

 

2-1

 

It’d be extremely unfair to pin it all on Fox though. We still had 10+ minutes to get back into it but nothing really happened. Even in stoppage time, we had a succession of three corners and although we had one cleared off the line, from a Fletcher header there was no urgency to get the ball back and get the next one going.

 

The full time whistle was met with anger, despondency and an overwhelming sigh of resignation.

 

FT: 2-1

 

One big point of note is that half the players left the pitch having not come further than the halfway line to applaud us who travelled nearly 500 miles up and down the country. This was disappointing to say the least. Yeah you’re annoyed at losing a game you actually didn’t deserve to but you should still have the balls to come and show a bit of appreciation to us lot who’ve frozen our knackers off for 90 minutes and paid good money to get here. Without the fans, your job would be pointless.

Fair play to the likes of Pudil, Reach and Bullen though who did come forward with Pudil donating his shirt to a young fan.

 

It took till 85 minutes to hear “Jos Out” chants which is great indication as to how we played today. You felt that some supporters couldn’t wait to get the chant going. Most were just there to support the team, the players wearing our shirt. We’d all have our say after the game. Rumour was rife up and down the coach on the way home. One person claimed Jos had been left in Swansea as a mate had seen him in the car park. Another, whose source was apparently on the bus, stated Jos was on the bus but wasn’t talking to anyone while the best one I heard was that Thorniley had him in a headlock in the changing room and wouldn’t let him go until he resigned.

 

We watched that ‘All Wednesday’ film on the way home which passed the time wonderfully while reminding us while it’s bad now, it’s not as bad as it was and it will get better because that is just what happens in football.

 

His time is up. For me his time was officially up at the Bolton game, ironically a game we won. That was the first time I can honestly say the players genuinely didn’t look bothered and took no pride in the shirt. They played that first half as though they wanted to get him out of the club. I’m sure it’s the best job in the world playing for Sheffield Wednesday but we all know if you don’t have a good boss, whatever line of work you’re in; the job instantly becomes less fun and much more difficult.

 

It really pains me to say that I’ve never felt more disengaged from the club than I have this season. I’ll always be Wednesday and always love my club but the hangover of the huge let-down of the 150th celebration season and the football cake, followed by the lack of transparency over players, Doyen, Hirst and transfer umbongo’s with an inept manager conducting at the front refusing to play our best players AND Chris Wilder REALLY pushes you to find the good in football.

 

I wouldn’t blame Chansiri for selling up. Maybe he’s been badly advised, maybe he just doesn’t get us or maybe his heart is in it but it’s all just gone a bit wrong and he’s out of his depth. Whatever the questions are, the answers have to be clear, once and for all.

 

Jos was rightly applauded at the start of the season for giving youth a chance but we’ve all had enough of his tactics, coaching and questionable statements like “the players are three years older”, “Kieran asked to play” and, most recently, “f**k off Andy Giddings”.

 

Dad and I enjoyed our away day as we always do and in the car on the way home from Hillsborough, we were already planning our next outing. And of course we’ll look forward to our next ‘silly away’ for next season whatever league we’re in.

 

However, Jos, I’d like that ‘silly away’ to at the very least be in the Championship and, with that in mind, thank you for your efforts last season but your tenure at S6 is done.

 

Tom

Owls Alive

Email: owlsalive@gmail.com

Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @tjchitt86

Images: swfc.co.uk unless stated otherwise


One Comment

  1. Another brilliant Ramble Tom – need to do some more , not just wait for our next silly away day .Of all the ones we’ve done , this has to be the silliest .On the road at six , on the coach at seven , in the the puddle in a foreign land at 11 and in the sh.. by 4.30 pm . and looking forward to the long trip home . You just cant beat it as a way of avoiding the Xmas shopping !

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