Blast From The Past - 1970
Vital SWFC forum stalwart Optimistic Owl harks back to a tense finish to the 1969-70 season (in more ways than one!)
At the tail end of 69-70, Wednesday were amongst the relegation favourites with two games remaining. Two wins would almost certainly save us but a win and a draw could be good enough. Two slight problems: the first game was against Manchester United at Old Trafford and the last one at Hillsborough against Manchester City, who were having a run in Europe that season.
So off we go to Old Trafford over Woodhead in a convoy of cars displaying Owls regalia. My mate mentions that he's had a few jars but should be able to make Manchester without a toilet stop. Just as well really as the miles of Wednesday car drivers might not have been very understanding having to stop and wait for my mate to go at the side of the road!
We were nearing Old Trafford when my mate starts to do the knee-banging routine. 'Hang on' I say, 'we'll be in the ground in five minutes'. I saw a young WPC on duty and asked her where we could park. 'Straight into British Road Services luv, it's full of your lot' she replied. By this stage me mate had started to turn a rather funny colour but we managed to park up in minutes and as the car park was floodlit, with loads of police hanging around, he thought better of doing it right there and then. We legged it to the ground and got in just before kick off. 'Wait for me' says my mate as he attempted to break the world land speed record on the way to the toilets.
I climbed the steps to the then unsegregated Stretford end and turned round to look for him. A huge cheer went up as Bobby Charlton scored! Someone who had actually seen the goal related this to me. My mate seemed to have disappeared (a trick that I was beginning to wish that he had perfected) when I spotted him still standing at the bottom of the steps. I started to wave my Wednesday scarf to attract his attention when another huge roar went up and the same bloke who told me that Charlton had scored the first said that George Best had just got the second.
My mate finally joined me and received a fitting endearment for an incontinent pr*t who had just made me miss two goals scored by two of the best players in the world, albeit against us. All turned out fine in the end as Tony Coleman bagged a brace to level the scores and we still had everything to play for in the final do-or-die match.
Joe Mercer's Manchester City came to Hillsborough with every intention of keeping us in the division. Mike Doyle even passed a penalty shot straight into our keeper's hands: we were home and dry, being 1-0 up. Unfortunately they had a substitute on the bench who must have been thinking of a place in the team for City's forthcoming European match. The teenager Bowyer certainly hadn't read the script and scored two to send us down.
That was the start of the worst times I've ever known as a Wednesday supporter: I even watched us avoid the third division due to a Ken Knighton goal against Bolton. Later, we were to escape the fourth by winning the last game of that season against Southend. Just remember, you younger supporters, that whatever Wednesday have served up in the last few years is deja vu to my mate and I.
We will be sitting together at the Birmingham match. Does anyone know where I can buy a pair of incontinence pants?
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