The Owls Down Under!
Vital Sheffield Wednesday member Josh talks to one of the Australian Owls' contingent, and owner of ANZOwls.com, Dale Hurman, about his Wednesday experiences and life following the Owls down under!
1) Tell us the story of the ANZOwls, how you started it and why?
The site's been running for almost ten years now - initially it was set up to help me keep in touch with what was happening at S6. There weren't many fan sites about at the time so it got a good following and stemmed from there. The site used to be called the Aussie Owls website, before we gave it a facelift and changed the name to ANZOwls. It's been growing ever since.
There's no official supporters club yet but as the number of fans from Down Under grows it could happen in the future. The problem being that Australia is such a bloody massive country, and New Zealand is a four hour flight away. Being able to see the Owls on telly out that way is a once in a blue moon thing so everyone relies on internet content to keep them up to speed.
2) What is your earliest Owls memory?
As a baby I had a bib that said 'I dribble for Sheffield Wednesday'. I guess that's how far my infatuation with the Owls goes back. But my first trip to Hillsborough was in '89 when Wednesday beat Villa 2-0. Can't remember who scored, can't remember much about the game. But I loved it all the same.
3) For you, what were the best and worst times to be an Owls fan?
The best has to be the early 90s period. A real golden age that we can still reflect back on with good memories. The promotion campaign and League Cup win under Big Ron, and the following few years under Trevor Francis getting to Wembley those few times and being in Europe. We had some fantastic players at the club in those days and played some brilliant football. I emigrated to New Zealand in 1994 so I count myself lucky I was around to see the best of it during that time before things went sour in later years.
I suppose the worst times have to be more recently with our fall from grace. But being at the '93 Cup Final replay was quite gutting.
4) Who is your favourite player of all time?
As a youngster going to Hillsborough regularly in the early 90s there were plenty of heroes on show. I still count myself lucky that I was around to be able to watch a player of Chris Waddle's ability on show. The man was a magician. But, for me, David Hirst is right up there with the best too. He was everything that Wednesday were about in those years.
5) What is your most memorable Owls experience?
The only time I made it to Wembley in '93 was for the Cup Final replay - my first trip there. It went down as the most exciting and disappointing Owls experience to memory.
6) What do you think of the Owls season so far?
Like most people I was pretty surprised to see Sturrock given the shove and even more surprised that Brian Laws was his replacement. It didn't seem to make much sense to me but I have nothing against Laws, and hope he can finish the season on a strong note for us. I have however lost all faith in Dave Allen's ability as a Chairman. I think I've been quite patient in my judgement of him over the years but it's clear we need some fresh faces on the board. The club simply can't progress any further with him at the helm. We'll see what the summer brings.
7) What are your hopes for the future?
Well of course the aim is to get back into the Premier League, and I'd hope we could at least be challenging for it next season. We survived the first season back, showed some consolidation this season and now next season we should be pitching ourselves that step higher. Hopefully Allen will be gone and somebody with a bit of ambition in his place.
Thanks Dale, and keep up the good work on ANZOwls!
You can visit Dale's site by CLICKING HERE