Date: 6th January 2009 at 7:52pm
Written by:

Encouraging signs at Hillsborough that Lee Strafford and Nick Parker are getting down to business, not just at board level, but at the grass roots within the club too.

I’ll hand you over at this point to NicNac from the Vital SWFC forum, who got to meet the aforementioned gentlemen on matchday:

‘Sitting where all the turnstilers usually do, on the upper west stand, out of the corner of my eye I spotted our two new directors walking along the side of the pitch. Quick elbow in my Dad’s side and I said ‘That’s Lee Strafford and Nick Parker!’

They went up to the stadium control box and came back out with John Rutherford (Operations Manager on match days, runs all the stewards, turnstilers etc). All three then proceeded to come up the steps at the side of our stand. I couldn’t believe it – they were coming to speak to us!

John Rutherford started by saying he wanted to introduce us to Lee and Nick, our two new directors. He said we’re all probably aware of Kaven Walker’s departure and he said since Monday when Mr Walker left, there’s been a breath of fresh air running through the club, and the changes that have been made in such a short space of time was just amazing. He then went on to say that we as turnstilers are important to the fans as we’re one of the first people fans see when they come to games, so he wanted to see smiling faces, people actually enjoying themselves and the atmosphere. He said we’ve had that since Monday up on the second floor and it’s about time it happened in the ground itself. John also mentioned there’s going to be a LOT of initiatives to get bums on seats, and encouraged us all to talk to our family and friends who have been staying away for whatever reason to get down and support the lads. We all need to pull together at this stage.

Lee Strafford then went on to say a few words. What I found most surprising was the bit where he said he’d actually been in the background at Wednesday for about 4 years! Well, now that’s all done and dusted and we’ve got our club back. One other thing which stuck in my mind, was when he mentioned his love of the club, how he remembers coming here as a kid and what it meant to him. He said coming to S6 on a match day is firstly about your love of the club, secondly about the match day experience, and then about the result. To see someone official at Wednesday speak with so much pride and passion was just astonishing.’

Positive news also that they are building bridges with Owls fan factions in talks already held with Wednesdayite and the Shareholder’s Association, plus lifting the ban on John Hemmingham and a future meeting with Owlstalk..

Cynics may say it’s what we hear from management all the time and those kind of promises are never delivered. We here at Vital Sheffield Wednesday beg to differ: it’s a classic move from the new directors to spread a team ethic through the organisation. It’s sorely needed to help blow away the air of mistrust and disgruntlement around S6. It’s something that will be needed not just for the rest of the season but in the coming months and years as we see Strafford and Parker put their stamp on the club we all love, and evidence that.. well, change has come to Hillsborough (to coin a phrase)!