MY FAVOURITE first day of the season was in 1979 when Owls kicked off another Third Division campaign in front of more than 23,000 at Oakwell.
It was my first full season with the club I loved after signing late the previous season from Southampton.
Some folk thought I was mad taking two big steps down from the First Division and my mate Alan Ball went ballistic when I told him I was signing for Big Jack.
But Third Division or not, Wednesday were my club – and that swung my decision.
I made my debut as a substitute against Watford and scored my first Wednesday goal in a 1-1 draw at Hull City – but, in many ways, my Owls career started at Barnsley.
Players always look forward to the first ‘real’ game and I was no exception. You put in a lot of work in pre-season and play a few friendlies but nothing compares with football matches that really count.
Local derbies are always that extra bit special and I always got more than my share of abuse from the opposition fans. Barnsley was one of the grounds where they really taunted me.
They dished it out to me that day but I gave it back. I enjoyed a lot of banter with Barnsley’s no-nonsense centre half Mick McCarthy. But I had the last laugh as I scored our first goal of the season and we won 3-0.
A repeat of that result against Villa on Sunday would be fantastic.
GOOD EVANS, he’s got it right!
Former Rotherham and Leeds manager Steve Evans is no fool. So when he predicted earlier this week that the Owls are genuine Championship title contenders, it was another feather in our cap.
Progress made by the lads under new manager Carlos Carvalhal last season was fantastic and I can’t wait for Sunday’s big kick off against relegated Aston Villa at Hillsborough (4.30pm).
The all-important question is can Wednesday take that extra giant step forward this term and challenge for automatic promotion after missing out at Wembley.
I agree with Evans that Newcastle, in particular, are favourites to top the league – but the Owls have every chance of being right up there.
Considering the style of football Carlos wants his team to play and the confidence with which we finished last season, Owls are a club on the up – and have already added some significant new faces.
It was to see Almen Abdi get himself a goal in Sunday’s final pre-season match against Port Vale and I’m confident he can become another great signing from Watford. Like Fernando Forestieri, he’s a lad who gets fans out of their seats and wins football matches – just what I like. I’m also backing fellow new signing Steve Fletcher to get among the goals again at Championship level.
Villa is a great game to start with – and the timing is good for the Owls. They crashed out of the Premier League in shame last season and face a hell of a job to put things right.
With a manager like Roberto di Matteo and rich resources to play with, they’re sure to become a big force in the Championship sooner rather than later.But are they ready for the challenge of a visit to one of the league’s best sides on opening weekend? Not so sure on that one…….
I’ll be following every kick and letting you know my views before Tuesday’s League Cup trip to Cambridge – but I’d also like to hear from you. Post me a comment on the Villa game, your prediction for how Owls will get on this season and where we need to strengthen.
.Now read all about my favourite opening day memory.
TIMES are achanging, but some things stay the same.
I may be 61 years old and it may be well over three decades since I pulled on an Owls shirt – but I still love the game, our club and chatting to fellow Wednesday fans.
That’s why I’m starting something new to keep you up-to-date with my views on Wednesday and other interesting football matters.
Every week during the football season I’ll be publishing my take on the Blue and White Wizards and having a great laugh remembering the happiest three years of my life when I played at Hillsborough.
I’ll tell you what I would do if I was in the Owls hot seat, whilst wishing Carlos every possible best of luck in his second season.
But this isn’t going to be a one-way thing. I would love you to leave your comments – and suggest what you want me to write about next.
Let’s face some fun – and put the world to rights.
I can’t wait to get started and for Wednesday to begin a 46-game journey that I believe could restore us to our rightful place in the Premier League.
Visit me here every week – and enjoy the ride.
Come on you Owls!