Bygones: When Sheffield Wednesday were making hay down White Hart Lane

Paulo Di Canio
Paulo Di Canio
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What Sheffield Wednesday fans would give to go back 20 years.

The Owls travelled to Tottenham on August 22, 1998 for their maiden away game of the Premier League season.

What followed was arguably one of the Owls’ most stellar performances in the top flight, certainly in recent memory.

In the build-up to the game, Tottenham supporters were at loggerheads with owner Alan Sugar over the lack of investment in the team.

Wednesday rode an early storm with Sol Campbell’s header coming back off a post and the maverick David Ginola looking a threat, and, after seeing it out, it was the visitors who went in front.

Peter Atherton planted a looping header over Ian Walker and into the net for one of just 13 career goals for the future Bradford City and Halifax Town man.

Andy Hinchcliffe: Made early impression for Sheffield Wednesday after signing from Everton.

Andy Hinchcliffe: Made early impression for Sheffield Wednesday after signing from Everton.

Ten minutes later and Wednesday doubled their advantage. A perfectly-weighted ball from Benito Carbone picked out Italian compatriot Paolo Di Canio inside the area.

After initially being kept at bay by an alert Walker, Di Canio was quickest to the rebound and duly tucked it home.

The gloss was added by Andy Hinchcliffe 12 minutes from time. The full-back crowned his second appearance for the Owls following a £3m move from Everton with a free-kick from far out. He struck it well, executing perfect bend to catch out Walker and ensure a memorable day out in the capital for Wednesday’s supporters.

The Owls finished that season 12th in the Premier League, just a place and a point behind Spurs.

As for Spurs, the events from that day 20 years ago could not be further from where they currently find themselves. Wednesday supporters can only wish that their trajectory follows a similar path to their opponents from two decades ago.

But it was to prove something of a glass ceiling for Wednesday.

The next term was littered with poor form and boardroom unrest.

The team won just once in its first 17 league games and it came as no surprise that they were relegated that season.

Wednesday continued to tumble and another relegation followed just three years later.

Today. the Owls are a relatively stable Championship side but their most recent crack at securing that elusive return to the top flight saw them edged out in the Championship play-off semi-finals in 2016-17.

As for Spurs, the events from that day 20 years ago could not be further from where they currently find themselves.

White Hart Lane has gone, the club are poised to move into a brand-new facility before the year is out and Mauricio Pochettino’s entertaining side have finished third, second and third in the Premier League in the past three seasons.

Wednesday supporters can only wish that their trajectory follows a similar path to their opponents from two decades ago.