Notable kits of yesteryear
18 April ~ Sheffield Wednesday's first stint in the third tier since the dark days of 1975-80 brought with it a new shirt. Aesthetically, it was acceptable; a satisfying shade of royal blue with chunky stripes made by Diadora, who had replaced Puma in 2001. Yet a few things grate: the back was plain rather than striped and the sponsorship and manufacturer logos, both stuck on in a cheap, tacky fashion, cut through the stripes on the front. The middle stripe was white rather than blue as well. We're quite particular about our stripes in Sheffield 6.
Gone was the flowery Chupa Chups sponsorship – much joked about but still one of the few global brands to have associated themselves with the Owls – to be replaced by the local Napoleons Casinos. Owned by Wednesday's chairman at the time, Dave Allen, it was a sign of how desperate the mess was at Hillsborough under his reign. The prime space was purchased, at a knockdown price, because no one else wanted it.
A couple of years later Allen would call press conferences for the sole purpose of criticising reporters and branding groups of fans "scum", "a bunch of cretins" and one female shareholder who dared to question him at an AGM a "venomous bitch". Despite stepping down as chairman in 2007, he didn't sell his shares until Milan Mandaric turned up in 2010 and is now working his magic at Chesterfield in League Two.
On the pitch the shirt brings mixed emotions for Owls fans. On the downside it adorned the team, led by Chris Turner, who finished 16th in their first season in the third tier, just three points above the relegation zone and the second-lowest placing in our history. On the plus side it was still our shirt a year later when, guided by Paul Sturrock, we beat Hartlepool United 4-2 at the Millennium Stadium to gain promotion via the play-offs – a day that will long bring a smile to the 40,000-plus Wednesdayites there that day. Tom Hocking