Memories of Sheffield Wednesday
Charlton 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday, 23rd August, 1986
We felt like gatecrashers. Up with the big boys for the first time in 29 years but something wasn't quite right....
Two old Wednesday boys made up our team that day - new signing Peter Shirtliff and our promotion season's top scorer John Pearson. Bobby Bolder had also signed but didn't break into the side until Nicky Johns got injured. Meanwhile Lawrie Maddern lined up in defence for the Yorkshiremen. But something wasn't right.
Lennie Lawrence wrote in his programme notes: "One of the most interesting aspects of today's game from my point of view will be the attendance. It is of paramount importance to our Football Club that we maintain a five figure average gate throughout the season."
Despite the cheapest match tickets being £3.50 only nine times did the club manage a bigger crowd that 10,000 in the 29 home league and cup games we hosted. It was a miracle that Lennie Lawrence even got us here. Before kick off 42 Junior Reds paraded around the ground wearing the home and away kits of our new high profile opponents. They included Oxford and Wimbledon, both now non-league clubs and Luton, perhaps sadly soon to be.
We kicked off and the crowd noise was good and it was a decent first half although Lee Chapman had two goals ruled out for offside. Alan Curbishley was injured and Steve Gritt did a sterling job in his place but it was Robert Lee who caught the eye putting us in front in the 53rd minute, latching onto a through ball by George Shipley to finish confidently. It was our first top flight goal since Stuart Leary scored in April 1957. The majority of the 8,501 crowd went wild, but something wasn't right.
Then immediately we were under pressure and sure enough in front of the away fans Gary Shelton equalised just two minutes later. Chapman had a third 'goal' disallowed and from memory we were fortunate to hold onto a draw with Brian Marwood particularly mesmorising on the wing.
We walked away happy though, what with two tough games to follow up at the City Ground and then Old Trafford. We beat United mind in what was to be an amazing season. But of course something wasn't right.Charlton:
Johns, Humphrey, Reid, Shipley, Thompson, Shirtliff, Lee, Gritt, Pearson, Aizlewood, Stuart.
Sub (not used): MelroseSheff Wed:
Hodge, Morris, Snodin, Knight, Hart, Maddern, Marwood, Gregory, Chapman, Shutt (Hirst 79), Shelton.Attendance: