Date:Friday August 4 2006
Boring Boring Wednesday
"May you live in interesting times."
Seemingly innocuous at first sight, these words are actually meant as a curse rather than a message of goodwill.
For Wednesday fans, it`s easy to see why. Recent years have certainly been interesting, but rarely in a good way. While autumn, winter and spring have been characterised mainly by dross, the summers have been cruel enough for Bananarama, featuring boardroom giddiness, supporter unrest and a team with more new faces than Anne Robinson. And just like for the Welsh-baiting witch of The Weakest Link, the outcome for Wednesday has usually been something slightly more flaky and significantly less attractive than before.
Last year, even promotion brought carnage to the dressing room as the Lugmeister tried to cobble together a squad that had a chance of survival. It was yet another period of upheaval in a long era of instability. This summer though: nothing. Or, at most, very little, and that is a positive sign. With the exception of the Scott Carson saga, Wednesday completed their limited amount of transfer activity early and with the minimum of fuss.
Of course, that left months for mischievous agents and desperate journalists to indulge in speculation, but Wednesday have little to offer in that department. For speculation has to be at least vaguely credible, and everyone knows that Wednesday`s coffers are still as empty as Jade Goody`s head. As for selling, the squad may now consist of honest, hardworking professionals, but they are never going to spark scenes reminiscent of the running of the bulls at Pamplona, as agents and managers storm Hillsborough in a mad scramble for their signatures.
In the boardroom, things have been equally quiet. Chairman Kevin Spacey had a spat with the ludicrously-named Wednesdayite, but really it was something and nothing. Playing the 'true supporter` card, he offered them the opportunity to hand their shareholding over to the club. It was disingenuous and laughable. He basically asked that a supporters` group relinquish what small influence they have so that the club would become a more attractive take-over proposition, a take-over from which an individual - Spacey himself - would benefit. It was the most pathetically transparent move since Casper the Friendly Ghost did the Macarena at Spectres - the Nitespot for Cool Ghouls.
Sensibly, Wednesdayite declined. Bravely too, for anybody who has seen Se7en or The Usual Suspects knows not to disrespect the Spaceman. Even so, Wednesdayite are a long way from regaining the credibility they lost when, in a former incarnation, they became Ken Bates`s gimp. Sadly, for the moment, they remain a Supporters` Trust without the trust of the supporters.
The other notable feature of the summer was Wednesday`s tour of the USA. Well, tour is a bit strong; they were hardly the Rolling Stones. Still, they remained undefeated despite stiff opposition: one third-rate team, an 'all-star` collection of uninterested strangers and a side who played a league game the previous evening. Nevertheless, it provided a few adventurous fans with some tales to tell, and me with an extended vocabulary. People like to mock how Americans report football, but I think it`s sensational. I may not be talking about the end-line or a one-hopper any time soon, but I guarantee that I`ll be using 'two brilliant stops on a bang-bang sequence` the first opportunity I get.
So, all in all, it`s been a settled close-season. Of course, the treatment room needs another extension and a goalkeeper before August might have been nice but, generally, things look alright. Mid-table mediocrity beckons. Boring it may be, but it suits me just fine.
Date:Friday August 4 2006
Done Deal - Chansiri Takesover Wednesday (Monday March 2 2015)
Gray On Middlesbrough Victory (Monday March 2 2015)
Stats: Sheffield Wednesday v Middlesbrough (Saturday February 28 2015)
Sheffield Wednesday v Middlesbrough - Line-Ups (Saturday February 28 2015)
Gray Wants Repeat Middlesbrough Performance (Friday February 27 2015)
Wednesday v Middlesbrough (Team News) (Friday February 27 2015)
Audio - Gray On Millwall, Knockaert & Boro (Friday February 27 2015)
Millwall MotM - Next Up Boro! (Thursday February 26 2015)
Takeover Press Conference? (Thursday February 26 2015)
Dielna Doubt (Thursday February 26 2015)
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