As a special build up to our big game on Thursday I went in search of some Sheffield Wednesday fans to take part in our special playoff Q and A session.
The first Dave Hurman, editor over at http://www.anzowls.com spoke to me yesterday,
1. Tell us a bit about yourself; Name, age, how long a fan of your
I'm 23 and I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I was born in Sheffield
but emmigrated to New Zealand 11 years ago. I've been a Wednesday
fan as long as I can remember.
2. What was the first football match you went to and what was the
Owls 2-0 Aston Villa, sometime towards the end of the 1989/90
season. I also remember going to a rather unmemorable 3-0 home
defeat to Forest, which ultimately sent us down to the old Division
3. What is the best and worst match you have attended?
Some of the best matches I've seen were in the early/mid 90s when I
was a regular down Hillsborough. Beating our neighbours Sheffield
United was always nice, a 3-1 win at home during the 93/94 season
stands out. A 5-0 hammering of West Ham went down in Hillsborough
history, when Chris Waddle tormented their left-back for 90 minutes.
Scored one and set up four.
Unfortunately I was never at *the* Sheffield semi-final at Wembley,
but in the same competition in the same season I went to the FA Cup
final replay. Andy Linighan's injury time goal in extra time was a heart breaker. You could pinpoint that moment as the start of our
ten year decline.
A few days before I left England I saw us beat Man.Utd 1-0 at
Hillsborough too. And who else should score the winner but my
boyhood hero David Hirst.
4. Have you over achieved, under achieved or achieved on your goals from the start of the season?
Making the play-offs has been an outstanding achievement for Paul
Sturrock. He only took over the club in September by which time we
never looked like making a serious crack at promotion this season.
If it weren't for long term injuries to our top scorer (MacLean),
number one keeper (Lucas) and our best defender (Lee) I'd have put
money on us making the top two this season. As it is, we're three
wins away from getting out of this division.
5. Do you think we've achieved, under achieved or over achieved
Well I imagine you lot should be pretty happy with a 4th place
finish, and a good cup run. You finished one place below us last
season so quite an improvement.
6. Who is the player Brentford should watch out for when we play
On the right wing Jon-Paul McGovern has been an ever-present for us
this season and undoubtedly one of our top performers this season.
He'll cause you a handful. Upfront the young Drew Talbot, an 18 year
old local kid, has made a name for himself recently.
7. Playoffs? they're always a bit unpredictable what do you think
is the most important factor for your team in ensuring you
Ensuring we don't get off to a bad start. For some unexplainable
reason we seem to start games poorly at the moment, and end up
chasing games in the second half. I'd be happy with a draw at
Hillsborough and then taking it to your place next week. Our away
form has been brilliant this season.
8. What do you make of the other semi final, who do you think will
Well, to be honest I can see Hartlepool going through. Tranmere
booked their place in the play-offs some time ago and they've
probably been taking it easy to avoid injuries/suspensions running
into the crunch time of the season. But the play-offs aren't a
complete lottery. It's about form, momentum and confidence. And with
Hartlepool having beaten Bournemouth away from home, after their
manager was sacked days earlier, they're going to be hard to stop.
We were unlucky to be beaten by Tranmere at home recently (after
some outrageous refereeing decisions) - and a lot of fans felt we
had nothing to fear if we drew Rovers.
9. Who's the Brentford player you think you should watch out for?
To be honest it's a hard one but probably Burton & Rankin.
10. What's your team like? Strong areas/players, weak
manager + backroom staff etc...
We'll have David Lucas back in goal for the 1st leg, he's one of the
best keepers in this division. We could also have Graeme Lee back in
our defence, which would be a big confidence booster. Earlier in the
season we were scoring goals for fun, but they dried up when we lost
Steven MacLean for the season. Since then none of our strikers have
really hit form, so I suppose you could pick that as a weakness for
us at the moment.
Paul Sturrock has done wonders for us this season - we're confident
he'll take us to the final.
11. What did you make of our two games during the regular season?
To be honest you guys robbed us twice this season. We *should* have
taken six points off you from both of those games.
12. Make a prediction for when Brentford play you at Hillsbrough...
I'll pick a 1-1 draw there. Then we'll sneak it at your place
Thanks to Dave for his answers we'll hopefully be getting some more responses from him after the first leg.