Date:Saturday June 23 2007
Well a lot of us saw it coming as far back as February, a lot of us hoped it wouldn't happen, but finally Steve Maclean has left the Owls to join Championship rivals Cardiff City.
And I'm gutted.
In fact I haven't felt this gutted about a player leaving Wednesday as I did when Paolo moved on to West Ham many years ago, and that's saying something.
I know Wednesday fans had mixed views on him, but I think the majority all wanted to see Macca pull on the blue and white next season - the blue and white of Wednesday that is, not our probable promotion rivals Cardiff City. Then again, can we even call ourselves promotion candidates if we're getting rid of our best players?
I'm not a kid anymore, despite what some people lead you to believe, but if there was a player at the club that I idolised in any manner, it was Macca.
It might seem a bit far fetched, but in a time in football where money rules, Maclean showed that the passion in the game was still there, that it was as good to score a goal each week than it was to grab a pay packet.
His 'punch' at the South stand this season, leaping over advertising boards after his goal in the FA Cup tie with Manchester City, and his rather humorous 'rants' at players and managers (remember Mick McCarthy?) throughout the seasons here.
I remember going down, ironically to Cardiff, to the play-off final with the hopes of beating Hartlepool and returning to the Championship.
Nobody really expected Macca to start, he'd been injured early in the season and it looked as though he would be out for the rest of the season, and then when the announcer read out the teams with him on the bench, you could feel the excitement grow around the place, there was a real buzz that he could be back helping us to promotion.
And of course, everyone knows what happened next.
'Substitution for Sheffield Wednesday, coming on number nine Steve Maclean!'
It just had to Macca who levelled it up for us, and it just had to be from the spot. Who knows what would have happened had he not been on the bench that day, we could be still in League One, not fighting for promotion back to the Premiership.
Hey, some people have a go at Maclean because he 'only scores penalties', well that could well be one of the most important penalties in the club's history, but lets forget that eh?
Penalties or no penalties, Maclean's goalscoring record at S6 was as good as I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing during my time as a Wednesdayite.
32 goals in 60 starts.
More than a goal every other game.
Makes good reading doesn't it?
And at a time when transfer prices are huge, you'd think a player with that record in the Championship and League One would command a pretty decent transfer fee, they'd be hard to get hold of, and they'd be exactly the type of player a promotion chasing club need.
But we let one go for free...
Of course we have no idea what goes on behind the scenes at S6, but something tells me that it wasn't simply a case of not being able to agree terms with our joint top scorer from last season.
However, the following statements below, both within six weeks of each other, make for interesting reading.
(May 9) Kaven Walker told the Sheffield Star: 'We have always known about this. It has made no difference to our negotiations with the player.'
(June 22) Brian Laws told the Yorkshire Post: 'Steve knows exactly how I feel,but I have to admit that we have hit a bit of a stumbling block. One is his agent and his fee, the fee for Glasgow Rangers, and on top of that is his wages.'
So all of a sudden the signing on fee DID make a difference to negotiations.
We're looking at splashing out £2m for a player who is unproven in this division, and seem desperate to land him, yet we have the ideal player right on our doorstep, and allow him to leave for free.
The one thing that has kept me going since hearing the news is that we actually are looking to invest on a striker, with Kenwyne Jones also in the frame alongside Mr Sharp.
Mr Laws and co. better hope they get the right man for the job in his place, or I wouldn't like to be in his shoes!
Good luck for the future Macca...
And I'll be the first to have a couple of quid on him banging a penalty in against us in front of the Kop next season, I just wonder what his celebrations will be like...
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Date:Saturday June 23 2007
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