At that point, we were the only team in any of the English leagues yet to win a game this season. A lot had happened since our last victory, which had taken place against Middlesborough in those halcyon days of May 2013. A prince had been born, Britain had had an actual summer and the word ‘selfie’ had been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Alas, our elusive victory remained just that. Elusive.
As a cynical nation, there’s one topic that can spark even the most dour of UK inhabitants into a lively soliloquy. Football. We are united by our exceptional and somewhat unhinged love affair with the beautiful game. And it is bloody beautiful, so who could blame us?
Well, a significant section of society, actually. You know the type. The ones who are simply baffled by the passion of ‘22 blokes chasing round a bag of air’ can stoke up.
For those who fail to grasp the magic of football, the love affair many of us have with our beloved clubs is not far removed from the relationships we experience with actual living and breathing humans. At times it is sheer ecstasy, bursting with the promise of a bright and exciting future together. Ninety minutes later we’ve had enough. The constant broken promises and unfulfilling end to proceedings have taken its toll. It’s over.
Unfortunately for me, the team I fell for is not the sort you’d take home to your mum, for fear of being laughed out of the house.
Evidently hypnotised by the blue and white stripes of Wednesday, I fell for the Owls in the early 90’s when I was growing up in South Wales. I shunned the likes of Swansea and Cardiff who were, at that time, drowning in lower-league obscurity, and used my Sheffield-family ties as an excuse to opt for the better club (LOL).
In the mid-90s, Wednesday were one of the biggest clubs in the country. Players such as Benito Carbone and Paolo Di Canio ignited my passion for flowing football and every Saturday I thrived on the pursuit of three points. I now identify this time as the honeymoon period of our relationship and, as with so many love stories, the throes of passion quickly faded.
Fast-forward five years and we were sinking into the murky depths of League One. My Italian heroes had been replaced by unrecognisable, pasty-faced rejects from the likes of Plymouth Argyle and Preston North End.
Wednesday had promised they would improve, that they would change for the better. And I foolishly believed them. Several seasons of League One and bottom-half Championship football followed. Same old story.
Despite the unrelenting disappointment, I still carry that flame for Wednesday. That naïve belief that they will one day return the support I have given them by soaring back into the Premiership never leaves me.
I glance over, green-eyed, at my Liverpool and Manchester United supporting friends. They are in love with dazzling and successful clubs. The kind that never let you down. The kind that book you mid-week trips to exotic European destinations.
But you can’t help who you fall in love with.
Come 4.45pm on Saturday afternoon we had finally done it. Wednesday had whisked me off my feet again with a 5-2 victory over ex-Premier League side Reading, ending a record-run of winless performances.
And like a hopeless romantic, I’ve fallen for it, head over heels. I momentarily fantasise about an unlikely surge for the play-offs. But deep down I can’t shake the dull realisation that on a November afternoon in Derby next weekend, my darling club will go back to habits-old and leave me as disenchanted as ever.
Picture provided by robinbyles.