Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 7: Sheffield Wednesday
Forest fans will have mixed feelings about our encounters with the Wendy's of Sheffield, but most will relish the return of the rivalry that has been missing from the fixture list since 2002.
The Hillsborough disaster will of course live long in the memory of every Forest fan that was in Sheffield that day in 1989 for the FA Cup semi final with Liverpool, when 96 football fans sadly lost their lives. But we have had better days at the ground and none more so than in 1995 when we thumped the Owls 7-1.
That 7-1 victory at Hillsborough was our best ever result during our Premiership days and will live long in the memory of Forest fans for better reasons than those of '89. The last time we met each other was in 2002, when we suffered a 2-0 defeat at their place. The return fixture saw us gain revenge with a 4-0 spanking thanks to goals from Lester, Johnson and a brace from former crowd favourite Riccardo Scimeca.
The Wendy's just about have the edge over us in terms of results over the years. In 114 league meetings between the two sides Forest have won 45, lost 47 and drawn 22.
Whilst we were busy celebrating promotion on the last day of the '08 season, Wednesday were celebrating survival in the Championship. They finished the campaign in 16th place following a difficult season under the management of former Forest player Brian Laws. He's the second former Forest player to take charge at Hillsborough and follows in the footsteps of Trevor Francis, who was manager from 1991-95.
Lawsy spent 6 happy years at the City Ground as a player and won 2 League Cup winners medals and an FA Cup runners up.
He was a no nonsense player and he's a no nonsense manager. He will be eternally remembered for decking one of his own players whilst player manager at Grimsby. He famously stuck one on his Italian starlet Ivano Bonetti for apparently failing to break sweat during a game. If only CC could have done that to a few of ours' in recent times, maybe we wouldn't have spent so long in the graveyard of League 1.
League 1 is of course no stranger to Owls fans, as they spent two horrible years there after relegation from the Championship in 2003. They managed their escape in 2005 following victory over Hartlepool in the Wembley Play Off Final.
Better times are hopefully ahead for the Wendy's, with news that a takeover is imminent and with it the necessary funds to improve the squad. Former Chairman Dave Allen resigned in November and ever since then takeover talks have been going on. Although the Owls have their main rivalry with their United neighbours, they have little more time for us. With just about an hour separating us in terms of distance, a visit to Hillsborough is always an easy one and often an enjoyable one as well. Unfortunately this year though, both games are scheduled for Tuesday night's. September 30 (a) and January 27 (h).