Hillsborough noise at Owls promotion party “unbelievable”, says Semedo

Miguel Llera is hoisted high by celebrating Owls fans at Hillsborough.
Miguel Llera is hoisted high by celebrating Owls fans at Hillsborough.
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Sheffield Wednesday captain Jose Semedo has revealed the noise generated by a sell-out Hillsborough crowd meant players struggled to hear team orders.

Saturday’s attendance of 38,082 was the biggest crowd outside of the Premier League this season, not only beating the Owls’ own League One record - 36,364 in the Steel City derby at Hillsborough - but also better than every Championship club, including Leeds United (33,366) and West Ham (35,000).

Michail Antonio celebrates on the pitch.

Michail Antonio celebrates on the pitch.

What makes the figure even more impressive is that only 500 were Wycombe Wanderers fans, meaning over 37,500 Owls fans packed in to all four stands at Hillsborough. Demand for tickets was such that reports suggested they were switching hands for as much as £500 on Ebay.

And it all helped create a jaw-dropping atmosphere inside Hillsborough, that evoked memories of the Eighties before all-seater stadia and 50,000 crowds.

For Owls captain Semedo he revealed that such was the noise, team-mates struggled to hear each other on the pitch.

“The noise was unbelievable,” said the 27-year-old Portuguese midfielder. “I remember at one point during the game we were two versus two at the back and I was calling for someone to come back and help cover, but nobody could hear me. It was fantastic.

“It was very emotional. This is the best thing that ever happened in my career. To celebrate in my place, my stadium, with my fans, my team-mates, it was unbelievable.

““We were a little bit more nervous to play a football game, it was an occasion, you know for most of us it was the first time we approach one game like a final, a play-off final or a World Cup final.

“We must win to win something and the occasion made us a little bit more nervous. At the end of the day though we just did what everyone expected us to do.

“I nearly scored too, but the most important thing was three points and promotion.

“For me it’s the best group (of players) I have had in my career. They are a fantastic group of lads, everyone helps each other - not only just in games, but at the training ground and the deepest moments we have had during the season.

“I thought it was going to be like the derby game, a full-house, but to see blue all over the place, I never imagined to see that. I will never forget this moment, never.

“Thanks to the fans too from Wednesday, because they have supported us all season and even in the deepest moments we had, they made us believe and in the end we did it.”

After leapfrogging city rivals United into second place on the penultimate weekend of the season, many pundits had wondered whether the Owls would struggle with the pressure of expectation now they were leading come Saturday’s game.

But Semedo said: ““We have been fighting with our minds because of the occasion, not because United were now chasing us. We knew it was going to be a full house, a big crowd, and we knew we could not disappoint the fans.

“It was more the occasion than the game. Because the game, we knew if we kept on doing the things we have been doing for the last 11 games the result will follow us.”

Wednesday staged a promotion party on Saturday evening and have a civic reception at Sheffield Town Hall on Wednesday to mark their achievement.

But as for thinking about playing in the Championship next term, Semedo is determined just to enjoy the moment.

“We just want to celebrate now after the tough season we have had,” he said. “I don’t want to think about next season, I just want to enjoy the party tonight with my team-mates. After take a holiday with my family, and after that I can start to think about next season.”

Owls goalkeeper Stephen Bywater added: “It was brilliant. Hillsborough was rocking. It’s the best atmosphere I have ever had in my career.

“It’s a massive club. Hopefully it’s the start of bigger things for the club now.”