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Bearwood Owl1

Sheffield Wednesday Fan
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Everything posted by Bearwood Owl1

  1. Copied it, not sure how well it now reads. Shame about the paywall thing as I think the Star have upped their game a bit recently.
  2. Hillsborough evacuated and Middlewood Road fumigated: the last time Sheffield Wednesday's season was decimated by a virus The word ‘unprecedented’ has been used a lot in recent weeks to describe the predicament football finds itself in. By Alex Miller Sunday, 29th March 2020, 9:00 am It’s a minor inconvenience in the miserable world outside the window, of course, but it’s true that since the tragedy of two World Wars and a particularly inclement winter in 1963, the sport has not found itself scrambling for a way forward after the decimation of the football calendar quite like today. But Sheffield Wednesday’s season being decimated by a mid-season health crisis? Hillsborough and Middlewood Road vacated in an attempt to stop any spread of a feverous illness? It’s happened before. And it’s an under-told story that went some way to triggering one of the club’s most desperate periods. Both Owls bases were shut down completely, albeit for a shorter time, in 1973, when what was described as a ‘mystery virus’ swept through the club and effectively cost club legend Derek Dooley his job as Owls manager. Four years later, Wednesday recorded their lowest-ever finish, narrowly avoiding relegation to the fourth tier of English football. It’s a story picked up by lifelong Wednesdayite John Dyson in his debut book ‘Our Lowest Ebb’, set for release this summer. Relegated from the old First Division in 1970, two years of mediocrity in the second tier followed before disaster struck. “Dooley had a reasonable team, they spent two years in midtable and had some good players; Tommy Craig, Peter Rodrigues. But he could never quite get them to go on that next stage and challenge for promotion,” Dyson explains. Activity has been suspended at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium for several weeks. Pic credit: Isaac Parkin. Copyright: JPIMedia “Then the 1973/74 season came along with this virus and the slide started from there. From early September '73 onwards is when players started getting sent home, one or two at a time to begin with. Willie Henderson was the first one.” Henderson recovered in decent time and the virus failed to take hold of the club until the end of the month. But before long players were reporting symptoms every day and were unable to train. The club was in disarray. “The big one was John Holsgrove,” Dyson says. “He was the club captain, a big centre-half. “He collapsed in the dressing room with it and was sent to hospital. His roommate was sent to a hotel to avoid spreading the infection. He didn't play again until March.” By late October a dozen players were bed-ridden and Owls secretary Eric Taylor submitted a request to the FA to have their next fixture against Notts County postponed. “The FA said no,” Dyson says. “The rumour was that Eric Taylor and Alan Hardaker basically despised one another. What truth is in that I can't be entirely sure. “A few days on, on October 27, they managed to scrape a draw against Notts County with a team of youth players. They decided then on October 30 that all team areas, the team rooms, the training ground and so on all had to be closed and that various areas had to be sealed off and fumigated. “At it's worst there were 12 out and if you look at the team against Notts County they've got five players from the youth team. Sheffield Wednesday boss Derek Dooley (left) surveys his available players amid the mystery virus crisis that swept through the club in the early 70s. Credit: Daily Mirror 1973 Copyright: Other 3rd Party “The next five games in the league were all lost. The cup game was an 8-2 defeat at QPR, they were being battered every week with half a team out.” That downward spiral went a long, long way beyond five matches, however. A League Cup win against Bournemouth from the division below followed that draw with County but the knock-on effects of that horror month saw them wait until the end of January for their next win – a run of 14 matches. Club legend Dooley, who still holds the unlikely-to-be-beaten Wednesday record of 46 goals in a single season back in the 1952/53 season, had been picked out of the club’s commercial office to take the reigns of the cash-strapped club three years earlier. His refusal to make a public excuse of the virus was admirable but may have cost him his job. He was sacked on Christmas Eve as the Owls edged closer and closer to a relegation scrap. Dooley’s programme notes in his final match, a 3-0 defeat to Fulham on December 15, read: “To go into detail (and there is a lot of detail) about our problems, especially as a result of the virus epidemic, will, I know, sound like excuses. “You know that I’m not one for making excuses, which is why I haven’t gone on about it… The bug is still biting us, but we’ll beat it yet.” The Ministry of Fumigation take to the boot room at Middlewood Road amid the mystery virus crisis at Sheffield Wednesday in 1973. It was a palaver from which the club didn’t recover for several years, Dyson says: “The team itself just about managed to escape relegation that season, the following season they were relegated and in 75/76 they finished the lowest they've ever finished in their history, one place about relegation to the old division four. “The virus wasn't the only factor; the club had no money, they hadn't recruited particularly well. There are other reasons, but it was one of the things that kicked off the downfall.” Wednesday will hope they can bounce back a little better if and when the season resumes in 2020. John Dyson’s debut book Our Lowest Ebb takes a wistful, nostalgic glance through the club’s struggles of 1973-1976 through the eyes of those who were there. The book is set to be published by Vertical Editions and is set for release in 2020. Pre-orders for the book can be made HERE.
  3. https://www.thestar.co.uk/sport/football/sheffield-wednesday/hillsborough-evacuated-and-middlewood-road-fumigated-last-time-sheffield-wednesdays-season-was-decimated-virus-2521623 With great thanks to the Star for writing it up, here's the story of the 'mystery virus' of 1973. (With a little plug for my upcoming book).
  4. Mine was Blackburn, Nov 1990. We lost 1-0. Went on the club coach with my brother. Saw some much better performances that season, but hooked on away games from then on :)
  5. 'Wee' Willie :) The other two as you've probably worked out are Gerry Young and Ken Knighton. Young was Burtenshaw's assistant at that stage, and Knighton his captain.
  6. Well the number of games was 30 - so you might well be correct!
  7. Here's a quiz, might keep people busy in the lockdown.
  8. Great thread to return to :) There's a book out about it all this year you know
  9. The book is now available to pre-order :) https://ourlowestebb.bigcartel.com/product/our-lowest-ebb-a-new-history-of-sheffield-wednesday-s-darkest-times-1973-76 Plan is to release at Owls in the Park in June. We'll see what Corona virus has to say about that I guess. Thanks for all the support on here. Hopefully the book will be interesting/nostalgic/informative depending on your point of view. UTO John
  10. Willie Henderson. I interviewed him for my upcoming book :) He said that his years in Sheffield were a 'very special time' for him. He's a top man. Does a huge amount for charity now after the sad death of his daughter.
  11. After another grim performance today, I though this was an apt time to point out that things have been much, much worse. My book about the dark times is now available for pre-order. I'll happily sign or dedicate (within reason!) any ordered in advance. I'm very grateful to lots of people's help from here. Several of whom get a mention in the book! https://ourlowestebb.bigcartel.com/ Cheers and UTO John
  12. I'll publicise this more a little closer to the time - but the book is out on 28 June, first available at Owls in the Park. It is now available for pre-order though - I'll happily sign or dedicate it (within reason!) if ordered in advance. I'm very grateful for the support of lots of people on this page. Hopefully it'll be something that many of you find interesting and enjoyable https://ourlowestebb.bigcartel.com/
  13. There's something in the players seeming more "real" I think also. Lots of stories of people knowing them in some way, players lodging with families etc. Great stories - thank you :)
  14. Had confirmation of my place at Owls in the Park. The book will be launched that day - 28th June. I'll be there and happy to chat and sign a copy if that helps :) It'll be in all good bookshops, on Amazon and other retailers soon afterwards. More details to follow. Thanks for the positive words and support I've had on here. It is genuinely appreciated.
  15. Dave Sunley's debut was vs Birmi gham City. First goal Vs Tottenham in the cup - scoring past Pat Jennings.
  16. Come in a 'top 10' of fans favourites in my upcoming book of the real dark years 73-76. General feeling was that he was a whole hearted trier in difficult times.
  17. I think that nails it, it was there. It happened. If you went to football, especially away, there was a chance of getting caught up in it - like it or not
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