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GET WITH THE PROGRAMME - LEEDS

GET WITH THE PROGRAMME - LEEDS

Let’s be frank, it’s not been a great week. Apologies in advance if this edition of GWTP is not quite as long as usual, or a bit lacking in quality, but I’ve been really busy and, to be honest, I couldn’t face writing about Wednesday earlier in the week.
Anyway, it’s time to dust ourselves down, pull ourselves together, do whatever else we need to do to ourselves in these situations and Get With the Programme for the visit of that lot from up the M1.

We head back to the 1995-96 season, Saturday 16th December 1995 to be exact, and a game that turned out rather well for the Owls….
This was David Pleat’s first season as Wednesday’s manager, and it certainly felt like a period of transition. The team from the early nineties was breaking up, and those that did remain such as Waddle, Sheridan and Bright did not seem to be Pleat’s favourites. The Owls were down in 14th place in the table, with just four wins, and the relative glory days were definitely starting to fade.

The previous couple of weeks, though, had seen a bit of hope with a somewhat jammy 4-3 victory over Coventry live on Sky (Dion Dublin scoring a hat-trick for the Sky Blues but still ending up on the losing side) and a very creditable 2-2 draw at Old Trafford, with Manchester United only escaping defeat through two Cantona goals (Eric only having recently returned to the side following a long ban for his studs-up challenge on Matthew Simmonds).
The feeling of optimism was increased by the signing of two unknown Yugoslavs, Dejan Stefanovic (or ‘Stenofavic’ as my mate insisted on calling him) and Darko Kovacevic. These days, of course, signing foreign players is a bit like shopping in Aldi – you get what looks like the same sort of stuff but a bit cheaper, although you are always left with a nagging sense of doubt about it all. Back in the mid nineties though, buying a couple of foreigners – and spending £4m to boot – was a rare occurrence, and filled us all with excitement. For that money they must be good, right? We wouldn’t spend that much on them without a good amount of scouting first, surely? And no-one else wanted to sign them because they’re not as smart as us, obviously?
Pleaty was happy that the Board had decided to ‘speculate’ on Dejan and Darko, and stated that ‘we will do everything possible to guide them and help them achieve their goals in this country’. In Darko’s case, this guidance and help appeared to consist of ‘ Here’s your flat, there’s a McDonalds across the road, knock yourself out mate.’

Back to that game against Coventry, Pleat was frustrated that Wednesday were not on Sky again before the New Year, saying ‘after the Coventry extravaganza they probably regret this decision’. To be fair David, having watched your teams play I think they knew exactly what they were doing (this Leeds game aside of course……)

There was further TV related debate in ‘Cutting Press’, which highlighted recent Press articles around the future of football on television. Paul Cox of the Telegraph was sure that ‘undoubtedly there will be too much football on television’. It’s interesting to read all this now, with commentators fearing the time when ‘Sky would use the Endsleigh League matches as appetisers only’ and ‘for anyone on a small pension or limited income…….the end might not be nigh but it definitely looks like 2-0 down with a minute to go’. They were way off……weren’t they?

Back to the Wednesday and ‘Inside Stories’ asked a few of the squad what they did at Christmas. At the time, the Owls had American-German goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann on trial, and his insight was absolutely fascinating : ‘Christmas Eve we have a fairly light meal of sausages…..then we open our Christmas presents….and on Christmas Day we have a goose – which is usually the special Christmas dinner – whereas almost everybody else in the States has their main meal on Christmas Eve’. Wow, you can almost feel the vibrations from the programme editor scraping the barrel (and me too, by repeating it).

Captain Des Walker was impressed with the team’s recent displays against Coventry and Manchester United. There isn’t really too much to say about Des’s programme notes, as I think he used to have them ghost-written by a cliché machine, but he was clear that, unlike the Coventry game, the match against Leeds ‘would not have 7 goals in it’. Well, not quite Des…….
In opposition
Leeds were in mid-table, managed by Howard Wilkinson, but had not been in great form in the run-up to this game. Their star that season was striker Tony Yeboah, who scored some spectacular goals earlier in the season (including one against Wednesday) but ran out of steam pretty quickly.
There were a few ex-Owls in their squad, with Carlton Palmer, Nigel Worthington and David Wetherall all featuring.
As well as Yeboah, Leeds could also call on Brian Deane (I assume the reference to three England caps in the programme was a misprint) and Tomas Brolin, who let’s say was not at his best at this stage in his career.

The Game

It was apt that the cover star of the programme was Chris Waddle, as this was to prove one of his final great games for Wednesday. Now, this is going to seem like an alien concept to us now, but we came out of the blocks flying, and were 3-0 up inside 25 minutes – Marc Degryse, Guy Whittingham and Degryse again with the goals.

Let’s just pause here and remember what a player Degryse was. Once he’d settled in you could really see his quality and it was a real shame he decided to go home after just a season.

Anyway, Leeds got a goal back as Brolin, who by now had been on his feet for a good half hour, decided to take a quick lie down in the penalty area, at which point an attempted clearance hit him and flew into the net.
Wednesday quickly took charge of the game again in the second half as Mark Bright and David Hirst made it 5-1. Rod Wallace pulled a goal back for the visitors before Hirsty scored again to finish the game at 6-2. Not the last time of course that we would score six against that lot……..
Next up

A bit of a break now before we host yet another local rival, Barnsley. GWTP has been rather 90s focussed of late so it may be time for a change…..

Come discuss the game with us and of course CheltOwl's lovely piece on the forum... HERE...

Unread article 30/09/2017 at 08:31

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