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FA Carling Premiership, 18/3/00
Sheffield Wednesday
Tall tales
By Pete Fincham

I've been to Hillsborough two or three times. Leaving out our visit earlier in the season, I was there most recently when Watford lost on penalties to Wednesday in 1998.

It was a great day out as the usual suspects finished up their drinks in our usual Sheffield drinker by the station, and headed up to Hillsborough through the rush hour traffic. It was in the days when I had a drum to bang, annoying some of the less tolerant members of our supporting group but at the same time creating something other than the deathly atmosphere that has been associated with much of our support since time began.

Wednesday were the first club to have a recognised group of players, leading to many other groups springing up at other clubs, just like we had done. I had done a few shows with them on Sky as well as a couple of "Under The Moon" appearances, which they always seemed to be hauled out for as well! They were treated to almost VIP status at Wednesday with their own area to stand in, and they really had carte blanche to do as they pleased.

Staggering into the stadium with a snare and two bass drums, the three of us just looked at each other as the Hillsborough band struck up their first notes of the evening. Shit, they were going to make us look more stupid than we looked already.

Although we didn't do ourselves any discredit by our performance, a couple of the South Yorkshire Police thought it would be a great idea to start telling us where we could bang our drums. Even though at the far end of the ground we could see their lot wandering around to the tunes they played, we were requested to stand in the same place, away from all the fans, behind a cordon of stewards! Bollocks to that, and I took off a wandering around the seats banging (my drum) away merrily! When finally cornered, I was told that I should go back to the designated area or else! On seeing me involved in yet another altercation with the authorities, my uncle came running down the stairs, grabbed the drum off me, and started banging it while walking around the seats! It was like the keystone cops, until Steven's lack of ability as a drummer became obvious to everyone as the drum stick flew out of his hand and onto the lower level of fans down below! Quickly he put the drum down and ran back to his seat!

What followed was an attempt by me to play the drum with my hands, then I gave up, we lost on penalties and it took six hours to get home as Mark's Peugeot broke down about fifteen miles north of Watford and Karim and I were last seen walking down the central reservation at 2am banging the drums with our hands!

Thought: One rule for one, one rule for others.