So, first up, give us a bit of background on your Wednesday ‘journey’ and the origins of the Wednesday Week pod… How often do you do one? ?
James: My first Wednesday game was back in 1990 – the last game of the season. We lost 3-0 against Forest and got relegated from the top flight. I had no real idea what that meant, so think I was the only person in the home end to have a cracking day out. It got better after that with a few good years before we sank back into the usual downward direction. The Wednesday Week started a few years ago doing exactly what it says on the tin… a look back over the last seven days in Wednesday’s world. It’s basically five mates coming together to have a bit of a whinge (most weeks anyway!)
So, how’s it been for you guys this season? You may have lost six games but you’re still only six points behind Frank Lambard’s Derby County™, who are in sixth (ignore the three 6s, it’ll be fine).
We knew it was going to be a season of stabilisation after a couple of playoff campaigns, the disaster of last season, and our financial constraints. A couple of weeks ago we went sixth(!) and everything was rosy… three defeats later and parts of our fan base have already relegated us. Ultimately, we’re a fairly average team and our season will likely continue following this up and down pattern. We’ve had a horrendous injury curse for the last couple of years which isn’t easing up – when we’re without a couple of key players, we just aren’t the same time. We lack strength in depth and that will be our downfall.
Handy for you then that we’re pitching up! Given that we haven’t won at your place since December 2001 [Blair was PM, Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman were number one, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring was on in the cinema], I’d say this was a perfect timing.
Given your hit/miss opening couple of months, are your expectations now the same as they were at the start of the season?
Yeah, absolutely – I expected mid-table, with the odd good run and the odd bad run. So far that’s exactly how it’s played out. Coming into this game on the back of three (bad) defeats means we’re only looking in one direction at the moment, and we really need to stop that rot. Especially with our next game, after you guys, being an unwelcome trip across town to visit our delightful city neighbours.
Oh blimey? You’re at their place? That’ll be lively. Actually, we probably have more in common than you think – because they absolutely loathe us – all going back to a game at the start of last season when, apparently, our bus turned up a bit late at Brammal Lane and we then proceeded to win the game.
As a result, Wilder flipped. I’d imagine if anyone utters the words ‘Norwich City’ to him at any given moment steam torpedos out of his ears. Unfortunately, they’ve beaten us twice since that day, and the dear fellow has made no attempt whatsoever to be magnanimous in victory. Not sure he has it in him.
But enough of him. Every time I watch you on TV, Adam Reach is smashing one in from 25 yards. Has he been the star so far? Anyone else who’s really stood out? And where’s ol’ Gary Hooper?
Barry Bannan’s been our most consistent player this season, and Matt Penney’s come through the youth ranks to really shine. But Reach takes the plaudits for the thunderchuffers (as we like to call them). Aside from the goals, his season has mirrored the team generally – average at times, but he’s shone in some games. We have a tendency to shift him around the pitch quite a bit and some positions just don’t suit him – he could tear you apart on Saturday or he could be fairly anonymous. In either scenario, he could still bag a 30-yarder!
Gary Hooper hasn’t played for over a year now thanks to the aforementioned injury curse. He was close to a comeback and played for the Under-23s a few weeks back before – you guessed it – another setback. I’m resigned to not seeing him play again now, so if we do it’s a bonus. He’s out of contract in the summer and it’s hard to see him getting a new deal as we continue restructuring the squad.
Didn’t realise it’s been over a year. Shame for him – a career blighted by injuries. A fox in the box if ever there was one.
What’s the general consensus on the manager. A downgrade or an upgrade on Carvalhal? And what do you make of that tache?
Right now, he’s in the firing line, but when you lose three games in a row and haven’t kept a clean sheet in 15 games, that’s to be expected. He’s quite detached from any emotion towards the club and likes to tinker – which is fine when you’re winning but ripe for criticism when you’re not. And we’re not, and badly not, at that.
Our chairman showed loyalty towards Carlos when things started to go wrong, and I can’t see him pulling the trigger any time soon – it’s an expense we don’t need, if nothing else. He’s really the opposite of Carlos, who was flamboyant, charismatic, colourful and oozed passion. Jos is quiet, reserved, considered and just out-and-out distant at times. I couldn’t give a stuff about his style or approach – he just needs to find a way for us to win games.
His tache is legendary by the way, don’t you ever forget it!
I won’t forget it. I can’t forget it. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t.
I swear I’ve seen him before by the way – in an old VHS video that I once looked after for a mate. Wonder if he still has the medallion?
Anyway, enough of that. The Sheffield Wednesday/England band… a lover or a hater?
This has long been a cause of division among our fan base. They’ve generally been playing the same songs since the ‘90s, then someone thought it would be a good idea for them to play the same songs at England games as well. I blame Dave Richards.
I’ll take that as ‘hater’ (might be wrong).
Have you seen any of our games this season? Ignoring the fact we never turn up at Hillsborough – or if we do, we lose 5-1 – what do you make of our Germanic revolution?
I have to confess I haven’t – ironically, I’m really into German football which limits the amount of Championship action I catch nowadays. I’ve always enjoyed visiting Norwich, it’s a lovely city with some good pubs, and so always had an affection for the club – probably exaggerated by how much I dislike Ipswich (they relegated yet?).
I’d much rather see you doing well than the likes of Leeds, Middlesbrough, Swansea or f**king Stoke. It’s been good to see Jordan Rhodes finding form with you guys as well, which can only help us in the long-run.
Wow – we really are on the same page mate. I can’t recall us having any real beef with Swansea, but everyone else on your list (especially ‘that lot’ obviously) have really ground our gears at some point in their recent existence.
In our exchanges with those lovable #TwitterBlades after said incident, we took great delight in telling them of our fondness for Wednesday. How right we were.
Do you have wealthy owners? As you know, we have Delia… and we’re ‘self-funded’. The owners pumped much cash into the club? Caring or remote owners?
We have a Thai owner who is indeed quite loaded; however, our enemy is FFP or Profit and Sustainability to give it its new name. We spent big in years one and two, gambling on promotion, which of course didn’t happen. We have a lot of ageing, crocked players and a swelled wage bill. We were under a transfer embargo in the summer and probably the hardest times are still ahead.
Chansiri [the owner] certainly cares and he’s here a lot – but FFP is crippling and some big-name departures are inevitable in January or the summer. Happy times.
Crikey… didn’t appreciate things were quite that gloomy with regards to finances. Must admit, some of us have been wanting Delia (and her husband Michael) to at least explore the prospect of getting in some external funding – albeit no-one seems to want to invest in us anyway – but at least by being ‘self-funding’, we’re less likely to fall foul of the new FFP.
So… what can we expect on Saturday? How does a Luhukay team play?
We haven’t stuck with a stable formation much this season. We’ve played with a back three for the majority of games, but I can see us reverting to a back four for this one, and two strikers – the bit in the middle is anyone’s guess. After conceding three against both QPR and Birmingham, it’s hard not to see a few things changing on Saturday.
You should be a politician … no clues there 🙂 Whatever formation Luhukay chooses will likely be good enough. Even though we’re playing quite well and are on a good run, a trip to Hillsborough should soon put that right. In fact, the medallion man could play 2-2-6 and we’d probably still lose. (I’m hoping the law of reverse psychology will kick in here and we’ll shock the footballing world).
Finally, you going to tonk us 5-1 again on Saturday? If not, what’s your prediction?
I notice you haven’t won an away game in November for like ten years or something. Guaranteed three points for you guys on Saturday then. Ha! Hopefully Rhodes missing might disrupt your flow a bit and we can hit upon the right game plan – and nick a 2-1 win.
Please be generous, we need the points! As ever, your fans will be made to feel more than welcome and us Wednesday Weekers always head to the Riverside Cafe (which is a pub as well as a cafe), which is about a two-minute walk from the away end, so hope to see a few of you in there. Top tip is to watch out for Belgian Blue on the bar – a Christmas beer from a local Sheffield Brewery that goes down very nicely.
A pint or two of Belgian Blue sounds like a grand idea for those who are travelling and get there in plenty of time for a few beers. Grand.
Well, thanks mate – I’ll not wish you luck for tomorrow (not least because you won’t need it), but I speak on behalf of most City supporters when I say, please please please get Wilder spitting feathers next Saturday.
An opportunity (along with several clear-cut chances) missed against Bournemouth will leave some fretting about the impact of a cup exit on City’s league momentum. Our recent record at Hillsborough gives little reason for optimism but Farke 2.0 is a different proposition so an intriguing fixture awaits.
Penney predicts: There is a little unrest amongst the Wednesdayites just now but they can be very dangerous on their day. We owe them a solid NCFC performance. Sticks neck out and says: 2-1 City.
Andy assumes: Revenge for back-to-back 5-1 Hillsborough thumpings will taste sweet. 2-1 win.
Gaz (G) guesses: For obvious reasons, this one fills us full of trepidation and in many ways is *the* acid test. Maybe expecting victory is pushing it too far. I’ll go with an oddly subdued 1-1.
Cookie concludes: A post-Halloween trip to Hillsborough where the bogeymen are waiting is enough to scare the bejesus out of me. Heart says a City win, head says Wednesday 3, City 1.
Stew suspects: For all my natural optimism, I’ve been caught out underestimating City recently. Not this time: with Pukki returning and the confidence still flowing, 2-0 City.
The oppo’s opinion: Rhodes missing might disrupt your flow a bit and if we can hit upon the right game plan, Wednesday to nick a 2-1 win.
Siri says: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand’. Wednesday 2, City 0
You turn folks…