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“Wednesday Love You More Than You Will Know”

After a rollercoaster seven years at Hillsborough it appears that Atdhe Nuhiu’s career in blue and white is to come to an end after the season finale against Middlesbrough, writes Ben Woodcock.

Over the course of his time in Sheffield the big man has become a cult hero with supporters, not just for his unique appearance and style but for the passion, love and heart which he has shown for the club since he joined on July 25th, 2013. Nuhiu started his Wednesday career as he meant to go on.

19 minutes into his debut at Loftus Road on the opening day of the 2013/14 campaign he smashed past England international Rob Green sending Wednesdayites delirious; wondering quite who this 6’5ft giant was that we had grabbed from Austrian outfit Rapid Wien.

Nuhiu helped The Owls to a 16th placed finish that season with goals against Leeds United in the 6-0 victory at Hillsborough, a brace against Blackburn Rovers to snatch a 3-3 draw and another long-range strike on a baking day on the South Coast as Wednesday beat high flying Bournemouth 4-2.

The following season was even more fruitful as the big Kosovan cemented himself at the top of the goalscoring charts.

A brace at The Riverside Stadium got him off the mark, he also chipped in with a superb header past Scott Carson away at Wigan Athletic; the best was yet to come.

Inside 15 minutes of Wednesday’s FA Cup trip to Manchester City, a game in which The Owls were tipped to suffer heavily again after losing 7-0 to the same opposition in the League Cup, Nuhiu opened the scoring with a sweeping strike past Willy Caballero, a memory etched in the minds of any fan who was there that day.

The big man plastered himself inside the memory bank again that season when he scored the 94th minute equaliser as Wednesday snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a 3-2 win over Rotherham United.Then, on the final day of that season, with Watford on the brink of a title win, Nuhiu popped up with another injury time goal which sent Wednesdayites into ecstasy behind the net.

The fortunes of the club began to change over that summer with Lucas Joao, Fernando Forestieri and Gary Hooper joining the club. Atdhe began to find himself playing the supporting role rather than the main man up front. He still managed to find the target in a 2-1 defeat to Burnley early in the season as well as scoring from the spot against Brentford. A 2-1 victory at Griffin Park had Owls fans believing something special may be taking place.

While his impact was limited, his season culminated when he came on as a second half substitute at Wembley against Hull City, a fairy-tale story for someone who grew up in Presevo amidst the troubles of the breakup the Yugoslavia.

In his fourth year at the club Nuhiu was edged further down the pecking order, limited to just a solitary start and 19 substitute appearances.

However, that is where he often showed his worth in the later years by causing havoc in the oppositions penalty area with 15 minutes left to play. He still gained the club vital points in the second push for promotion, again to end in heartbreak.

The number 17 cut a frustrated figure at times during the second season under Carlos Carvahal, the lack of playing time coupled with his care for the club was beginning to get the better of his temper. Occasionally after being on the pitch for the final few moments of a game Nuhiu would storm down the tunnel, isolated from the success of the rest of the team, he felt his days could be numbered.

Little did he know that the success of the team would plunge back to the pre-Chansiri years and his services would be called upon once more as Jos Luhukay replaced Carvahal in the hot seat.

He grabbed another late goal to clinch a 2-2 draw against Ipswich Town at Portman Road before he shone in the third and fourth round of the FA Cup against Carlisle United and Reading respectively.

No less was he crucial in White Rose clashes with Barnsley where he converted from 12 yards and at Elland Road where goals in the 71st and 91st minutes secured a 2-1 victory.

This was the start of a purple patch which saw Nuhiu grab a terrific brace against Preston North End, the second of which was stunning. Goals against Sunderland and QPR were sandwiched between a perfect hat-trick on the final day 5-1 drubbing of Norwich City.

This left him with 14 goals in all competitions in the 2017/18 season, his best annual return.

The 2018/19 season was again less productive but when the big moment came Atdhe was on hand to set up a fourth round FA Cup clash with Chelsea; his goal enough to beat Luton Town 1-0.

The 2019/20 season, which will prove to be his last at S6 will be remembered for his late goals.

First, his 96th minute scramble against Rotherham in the League Cup second round, a month later a 93rd minute diving header to rescue a point against Fulham at Hillsborough. In December came a 94th minute nod to seal the points against Charlton Athletic.

He cemented the label of super-sub a month later at Elland Road when he finessed home the second in a 2-0 success, this time after 94 minutes. The time was the same when he bulleted home a consolation goal against Swansea at the start of this month.

Last weekend against Fulham the Kosovan racked up his 50th and 51st goals for the club, only the second player to do so this century after Marcus Tudgay.

This double could prove to be his final contributions to a club where he has become an icon, a cult hero. If supporters fail to love him for his ability then they certainly admire the heart he has shown for Sheffield Wednesday.

Come and give us your thoughts on Atdhe, should he be staying? Or is it the right time for him to leave the Wednesday? Discuss with us on the forum - HERE
Unread article 21/07/2020 at 17:27


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