1. ITV Report

Off The Post Blog: Wednesday fans dare to dream of promotion

Well, that was one interesting bank holiday weekend now this week the media focus is on Leicester City winning the Premier league but that's not what we were thinking about on Saturday.

Carlos Carvalhal's men held their nerve to sneak into the playoffs Credit: Press Association

Avoiding defeat against Cardiff City was the sole focus for Wednesday and the fans and at 4.50pm on Saturday we all felt like we were on top of the world. In the grand scheme of English football, cementing a place in the Championship playoffs and a possibility of making the step up to the top flight isn’t the biggest prize but try telling that to the 30,000 fans in blue and white that witnessed it at the weekend.

Back in August even the most ardent of Owls supporters wouldn’t have even gave the playoffs a second thought, in fact when we lost to Middlesbrough at the end of the first month of the season people were wondering how far from the top six things were on the field. Well it turns out we were a team in transition, the learning curve may well have been at it’s lowest point but just two months later that curve had taken a distinctly upward turn. Beating Newcastle and Arsenal in the League Cup in the midst of an eleven game unbeaten run was a real indication of the true potential of Carlos Carvalhal’s squad.

Each week squad rotation was questioned by outsiders, but within the fanbase and the club there was an air of growing optimism. Players were kept fresh and eager for their chance to impress the head coach and help the team continue to ascend the Championshp table relatively unnoticed. It suited the whole outgoing ethos of Carvalhal, while Burnley, Boro and Brighton were picking up the media attention; Wednesday just continued to do their own thing, one game at a time.

After the turn of the year four successive victories were to thrust Wednesday that little further forward and finally promotion hopes were to become more than a distant dream. However, Carvalhal still played down our chances as outsiders. Many supporters dared to start dreaming of what maybe without really nailing their colours to the mast, what we were experiencing was something of which we’ve not seen for decades.

A brief flirtation just below the automatic promotion places proved to be just that as at a crucial time, a draw at Brighton following a loss to Rotherham almost ruled out the Owls finishing in the top two. But rather than resting on our laurels another four game winning run all but ensured a top six finish, scoring nine goals and conceding just one left us on the cusp of an extension to the season. But then an equally as long winless run gave Cardiff the chance to tug at our shirt tails, however setting up last weekend’s tantalising game.

The performance against the Bluebirds was one of total dominance, everything came to fruition, the fans were challenged by the head coach to support even through any mistakes and they responded. Even in a brief lull in the volume no nerves were transmitted from the stands to the players, it was the opposite. With an hour gone, a burst of support pushed the team forward in went the opening goal and it was game over. No one would have turned that around.

Leicester have shown this season that unity and hard work on the field goes a long way even at the top level, the Owls players, management and supporters prove it extends to the second tier too.

It remains to be seen if Wednesday can make the final step up to face Premier League champions next season, but think back to August before a ball was kicked… Just having an opportunity of promotion is a huge bonus for everyone at the club and a true indication of our intentions longer term.

We’ve dared to dream and no matter what happens, this sleeping giant may just awake dining at the top table sooner rather than later.

Terry Hibberd has been a Sheffield Wednesday season ticket holder for the last 20 years and his all time favourite Wednesday player is Chris Waddle. Terry is the editor of OwlsOnline.