Date: 11th March 2007 at 8:15pm
Written by:

It’s so simple for some, isn’t it? Just choose a football team and support them. Vital SWFC forum member Optimistic Owl reminds us why that might not always be the case..

Why do folk from anywhere away from Manchester think that it’s their God given right to be a Manchester United fan? I don’t recall being struck by a bolt of lightning whilst walking through Graves Park that told me that I should be a Man U supporter. However I did have a very strange decision to make in respect of me becoming a Blade or an Owl.

Great-granddad Ring came to Sheffield from Bath and married a lass from Dublin: they settled in Heeley. At the time of his arrival, Wednesday played at Olive Grove and United didn’t even exist so he and his family supported Wednesday.

A few years later great-granddad Marshall arrived from Horncastle and married a Grenoside lass: they too settled in Heeley. Sheffield United had recently been formed and Wednesday was about to relocate to Owlerton, so he and his family became United supporters.

My favourite granddad who was born in 1899 was a Unitedite and couldn’t wait to get me down to the Lane. Whenever I visited members of my grandmother’s family who were Rings, I noticed their devotion to the Owls. However, granddad got his way and took me to see United. I was only a little kid and recall that I enjoyed the experience so much that I asked him if he would take me to Hillsborough the following Saturday: his face was a picture, bless him.

From the second that I stepped into Hillsborough I was smitten, everything clicked and I immediately knew that I belonged. I still continued to go down to the Lane with granddad but he finally got the message during a United v Wednesday derby there. I was jumping up and down screaming my team on resplendent in my blue and white scarf (no replica shirts in those days), so I’m sorry granddad, I guess that Wednesdayites really are born and not made.

Granddad still took me to Hillsborough until I was old enough to go under my own steam and I still accompanied him to United matches that he wanted to attend, these got to be fewer and fewer as he got older. I initially thought that I had disappointed him but on reflection I think that he really enjoyed going to Hillsborough with his grandson, God bless him.

Younger forum members would very rarely have had to go through a decision process similar to mine but folk my age with a Heeley ancestral background could quite easily have gone one way or the other. It also contradicts the myth that real Wednesdayites come from the other side of Sheffield as Wednesday started out on the south side of the city and retained their original supporters and their descendants.

Me become a Man U supporter after all that? Don’t be daft!

Read more about classic Wednesday matches and memories in our Archive here. Why do you support the team you do? Let us know..