Sheffield Wednesday - We Are Top Of The League!
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We Are Top Of The League!

Ten years ago this weekend the Owls were sitting pretty at the top of the Premiership - a stark contrast to their current position languishing near the bottom of 'Division One'.

Wednesday had played four, won four, and were sitting top of the tree in the English league - above teams like Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. In some senses it seems like yesterday, in other it seems like the ten years it's actually been. But one things for sure, it's going to be just as long until we see the Owls there again.

Looking back at the 1996/1997 season, now high-flying Wigan Athletic were leading the way in the bottom tier of English football along with now-Premiership Fulham - the old Division Three. Watford were in Division Two with a number of now-Premiership outfits plying their trade in the top flight. But at least we can say there's always one club worse off than the Owls - with Nottingham Forest also in the top flight in the same campaign.

Wednesday got off to a cracking start to the season, with the team sheet for the opening match at Hillsborough against Aston Villa looking like this:


Subs: Hyde, Oakes, Clarke Nicol, Sheridan

The team was nothing special on paper, but they got off to a superb start with a 2-1 victory over Villa thanks to goals from Ritchie Humphreys and Guy Whittingham. Humphreys was tipped to be the next big thing at S6, but now finds himself in a similar downfall to that of the Owls - playing in League One on loan at Port Vale.

Wednesday went top of the league following their midweek fixture at Yorkshire rivals Leeds United as they recorded a superb 2-0 victory at Elland Road to leave the fans chanting 'We are top of the league!' - and it wouldn't be the first time for the season. Humphreys enhanced his growing reputation to give the Owls the lead before Andy Booth sealed the points in the final minute.

And as many pundits expected the Owls run to come to an end at Newcastle, Wednesday had other ideas. An Alan Shearer spot kick gave Newcastle the lead but Peter Atherton hit back with the equaliser minutes later. The Owls held on and Guy Whittingham popped up with 10 minutes to go to hit the decisive goal.

Leciester City were next up for the Owls at Hillsborough and Andy Booths strike just a minute into the game cemeted the Owls position at the top of the league. Ritchie Humphreys then added a second and Steve Claridge's strike wasn't enough to get the visitors level.

OK, so the lead at the top of England's top division didn't last for long, and Wednesday did go on a 10-game run without a victory - including a 1-0 defeat to Oxford United in the League Cup - but those four matches were amongst the best I've supported the Owls in. And at least I can say we have been top of the league in my lifetime, even if it will never happen again...

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Nick Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday September 17 2006

Time: 11:20AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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oh they where the days. I fell we are a long way of those ever coming back again :(
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18/09/2006 12:52:00


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