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Off the back of the trip to Wigan where Bees should have returned with all the booty, BillytheBee catches up with Terry Hibberd (@HoylandOwl) owner and editor of Owlsonline.com about Ched Evans, badly dressed Sheffield United fans and Paulo Di Canio.

You’ve had a decent start to the season … impressive away from home winning games at Brighton, Boro and Birmingham as well as Burnley in the cup. The 7 goals against Man City was a bit of an away blip … pleased with your start to the season??

We were beaten away at Cardiff. But we’ve been largely impressive away from Hillsborough. At home is a different story. One home league win isn’t really good enough. BUT we’ve largely had a good start.

If you put it in comparison to not winning for what seemed like an eternity at the start of last season, this season’s start has been very good. 

You have a tough three games … you played Watford on Saturday .. Brentford and Norwich … this surely is a series of games which will see where you stand in this league?

The game against Watford at the weekend told the story of Wednesday at the moment. We have a wafer thin squad which was exposed by a very good side. We can be a match for anyone in this division and have shown that. But when injuries and suspensions take hold we could just as easily struggle.

We want general progression, and so far by and large we’ve had that. The football has been better and the results too, I’d still expect us to finish mid-table if we wriggle out of the little blip we’re currently having.

It’s hard to imagine that Wednesday played in the inaugural Premier League in 1992/93 – finishing 7th. You got to Wembley twice that year too. Can you see the glory days returning.

Like many clubs investment goes hand in hand with progress or glory. We are crying out for it. Milan Mandaric has done so much in saving our club and we will always be thankful to him for that.

But now we’ve stabilised we need a bigger cash injection to push on. Without investment, simply put, no it won’t happen. BUT I’d still like to think we’re an attractive prospect as things could take off here, given the right backer.

Can you explain why we are playing you on a Tuesday? I thought your name came from the fact that your players could only get Wednesday off work to play footie.

The Wednesday thing came from the team playing on that day yes. We were a bunch of local cricketers in the summer who kept fit by playing football in the autumn/winter. 

We did always play our home midweek games to keep up with tradition but I forget which manager it was but he decided that Tuesday was a better day to play at home so the recovery period to the weekend was longer.

There are still plenty who think that we should retain that tradition but in truth. It doesn’t make all that much difference to me.

And talking of traditions, there is always a battle on in Sheffield as to who is the biggest club. We’ve spent the last few years playing the Blades from S2 .. they make all sorts of claims about you .. from your poor dress sense to your inability to fill your stadium. (I’m just quoting .. don’t shoot the messenger). What’s your view on your Blades buddies?

Buddies… I’d never call them that. Although there are quite a few acquaintances I have from the ‘dark side’! That quote obviously comes from one of the bitter knuckle draggers over there. It does make me laugh that they comment on dress sense. They wave their primark pumps in the air in their car park when something irks them!

As for the inability to fill the stadium. I forget the last time they got almost 40,000 in their stadium. Oh that’s right, they can’t fit that man people in The Sty can they? We had 38,000+ in Hillsborough to see us pip them to Championship promotion as we beat Wycombe a couple or three seasons ago…. While they cried all the way home from Exeter.

A good day for all.

1979-80 saw the 4-0 Boxing Day massacre against United. What is the best Derby match you have ever attended?

It has to be the FA Cup Semi Final at Wembley in 93. I was just 18 (while some of my site members will dispute that) and it was like all the City moved south to Wembley. From the moment Chris Waddle nailed his 30 yard free kick home early on there was only going to be one winner, even when that tramp-a-like Alan Cork equalised for them. We battered them and without Alan Kelly in their goal it really would have been 10-1. 

Ex-Blades striker and convicted rapist Ched Evans got released from jail this weekend. United are thinking of re-employing him. Wednesday recently re-employed Gary Madine who was jailed for knocking out both Wednesday and United fans in bars around town. You have to commend Sheffield’s commitment to rehabilitation of offenders … and I believe very strongly that ex-offenders should be given every opportunity to be re-integrated into society … but something about the Ched Evans affair sits slightly uncomfortably with me in the message football is sending out to the world. 

It’s been spoken about since he was first charged up here, debates rage on even now. The crime is a horrendous one and he shouldn’t be able to be a professional footballer, regardless of who he plays for.

Lee Hughes, Marlon King, Luke McCormack all too shouldn’t be playing.

Wednesday player Gary Madine did wrong too, and I’d put him in the same bracket. These people are still seen as role models for young kids, then commit crimes and then the young ones are expected to continue parading around with the offenders names on their shirts like it’s ok?

Sorry. It’s not acceptable. I don’t think if it was you or I at our jobs we wouldn’t get our job back.

Back in the glory days, Trevor Francis was Wednesday manager in the early 90s after Big Ron “I’ve got lots of black mates” Atkinson. Good days?

Wow, what a time to be a Wednesday fan, thankfully I was old enough to really appreciate it too. The League Cup win over Man U in 1991 is still fresh in the mind, Ron getting one over his former employers and then onto Trev who brought in MORE truly world class players and as a team we were fantastic to watch.

The season prior to the Premier League we finished third behind Man U and dirty Leeds and were within a hair’s breadth of winning the title. FA Cup Final and League Cup finals the year after. Waddle, Hirst, Walker, Nilsson, Sheridan and the much maligned Carlton Palmer as well as current Leicester manager Nigel Pearson amongst others.

We had a tremendous team spirit, work ethic and unity that was the almost the perfect recipe. (I think I need to have a sit down now!)

You’ve had a load of famous and infamous players. Paulo Di Canio, who in his time as manager of Swindon was not overly popular at Griffin Park, played for Wednesday and famously pushed referee Paul Alcock receiving an 11 match ban. Who was the barmiest player to play for you guys?

Paolo was a genius, a crazy one but one hell of a player; he was like the footballing equivalent of Doc Brown from Back to the Future. He could win a game on his own (and he often tried to) but then berate the officials that much that you just knew he was going to go schizo! He probably has to be the barmiest player I’ve seen for us but also one of the most talented.

Although no one can hold a candle to Chris Waddle for me. The man was a complete genius and didn’t get the recognition he deserved when he played for us, when we signed him for £1m from Marseille.

I was astonished as I’d been a fan of his for a long time, in ’93 he was the football writers player of the year but for whatever reason didn’t get back into the England set up. Still one of the few players I’ve seen put a defender on his arse without even touching the ball in the process.

Brentford have had a decent start to the season including great wins against Leeds, Brighton and Reading. We lost to Norwich but played some absolutely scintillating football for 70 minutes which any other day, if it wasn’t for the form of Ruddy in goal, would have seen us a few goals clear. Players to look out for include Moses Odubajo – £1m buy from Orient. A nifty winger who scored a wonder goal for Orient in their playoff final loss against Rotherham. Alex Pritchard. A tricky attacking midfielder on loan from Spurs (via Swindon). Ala Judge – a lively midfielder who scored our promotion winning penalty last season whilst on loan from Blackburn. We signed him for apparently not very much in the close season. Jota – a classy midfielder signed for £1.5m from Celta Vigo. Jonathon Douglas – the midfield general who has been playing out of his skin since we lost our Division 1 player of the year Adam Forshaw to Wigan. Andre Gray – the Conference leading scorer last season signed from Luton for £500k. Very quick. Warburton has put a lot of faith in him stepping up 3 grades in one jump. Who should we be looking out for in the Wednesday team?

Our stand out players this season haven’t really been strikers, although Stevie May is a nippy striker and has seemed to gain the affections of quite a few of the fans since moving from St Johnstone in the transfer window and seems to like playing away from home.

Atdhe Nuhiu is something of a cult hero, he’s a massive unit who looks like a lummox but has excellent ball control but his heading ability isn’t the best for a bloke as big as Peter Crouch.

Royston Drenthe is probably the easiest on the eye in terms of skill. This is a bloke who once cost Real Madrid €14 when they bought him from Feyernoord. He’s fallen through the league’s a bit but he’s got plenty of skills and stopovers to confuse any defence but we’re yet to see him consistently. 

In defence we have Tom Lees, a former England U21 international who was bombed out of Leeds and they laughed when we signed him. He’s been tremendous, a real find, cool on the ball and reads the game very well. And finally the other stand out performer has been ‘keeper Keiren Westwood, another free transfer who was another berated by his last club’s supporters and aside from his rick in the Watford game he has been nothing short of fantastic.

Here’s our “Made in Sheffield” section

Jon McClure from Reverend and the Makers or Jarvis Cocker from Pulp

It has to be Jon, he’s a Wednesday fan and not ashamed of it too. He goes to games when he can and loves it (I do love that photo of him walking down the side streets of Brentford en route to the match a few seasons ago below – Ed). 

jon mcclure reverend and the makers at brentford

Arctic Monkeys or Housemartins

Arctic Monkeys, again more Wednesday fans. As for the other lot, they’re associated with the swillers from Bramall Lane and the less said about them the better.

Sean Bean or Michael Palin

It can’t be Sean Bean, I detest him. The only redeeming feature about him is that he dies so much in his ‘career’ and I use that term loosely.

I’m loathed to choose Palin as you simply cannot support both. You choose if you’re blue and white or as streaky as bacon. But he’s not Sean Bean so it has to be him.

Sky Sports presenter Charlie Webster or Sky News presenter Alex Hammond

Charlie Webster is definitely the easier on the eye. It does irk that she’s one of those (are we referring to United fans again Terry? – Ed) but she needs commending on her stance on the aforementioned Mr Evans. And did I say she’s attractive? 

Sebastian Coe or Jessica Ennis

I’m led to believe that Mrs Ennis is only one of ‘those’ due to her other half. And they tried to lure her by naming a stand after her too. Seb Coe.. Politician and no one really likes them do they? It has to be Mrs Ennis.

Head to head, Wednesday are just shading it winning 10 games to the Bees’ 9  with 11 games drawn. Can Brentford draw level?

At the minute I’d fancy us away from home rather than at Hillsborough, although you lads have impressed a few people too. We’ve had a few very happy trips to Griffin Park over the years A proper ground with some cracking supporters to boot.

Give us a score prediction

I think we’ll scrape a win if I’m honest. 2-1.

Wanna give a thanks to Terry for giving us the low-down on all things Wednesday. You can follow him on twitter – @hoylandowl … or check out the Owlsonline website.

Where to drink in Brentford

For Wednesday fans coming down, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match. There four pubs around the ground. The Griffin is closest to the away end and is very popular with away fans – but also very busy. The New Inn is on the other side is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal and The Royal Oak (often home fans only) are the other two options.

Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) … The Globe (Windmill Rd) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd)  – both incredibly friendly and cozy away-frienly pubs .. frequented by away fans in the know – and The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields before making your way down to the ground (normally stopping off at The Globe and Lord Nelson en route) .. and for ale heads the Magpie and Stump real ale pub on Brentford High Street … A quick google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have an early start … 


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