Sheffield Wednesday v Peterborough United: Darren Moore's message to supporters as Owls chase a miracle - plus backing from above

ASTONISHING things occasionally happen in football.

At the top of the scale, there is Liverpool's unforgettable 'Miracle of Istanbul' against AC Milan in arguably the most storied Champions League final of all time back in 2005.

In terms of celebrated White Rose comebacks, there have been a couple of glorious ones to savour at play-off level.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They both involve Bradford City, who turned things around after trailing following semi-final first-legs at home to such an extent that they emerged as victors at Wembley not once, but twice.

Darren Moore. Picture: Steve Ellis.Darren Moore. Picture: Steve Ellis.
Darren Moore. Picture: Steve Ellis.

Back in 1995-96, City lost 2-0 at home to Blackpool, then managed by Sam Allardyce.

An advert detailing Wembley travel details in the Seasiders' match programme provided the Bantams' team-talk ahead of the second leg at Bloomfield Road, en route to a memorable 3-0 success.

On the second occasion in 2012-13, Bradford lost 3-2 in their home leg against Burton Albion, only to prevail 3-1 in the second instalment in Staffordshire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Famously, Middlesbrough also overturned three-goal deficits not once, but twice in the knock-out stages to reach the Uefa Cup in 2006.

Which brings us to Sheffield Wednesday. Should they wipe out the four goals scored by Peterborough in a gruesome night in the Fens last Friday and somehow reach Wembley, it would top anything previously achieved by a Yorkshire club, for sure.

Their manager Darren Moore also has his own reason to believe that all is not quite lost - even if the memory was painful at the time.

Back in 1993-94, the young defender was part of a Torquay United side who beat Preston North End 2-0 in the first leg at Plainmoor - with Moore netting the second goal for the Devonians.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the return at Deepdale, the Gulls and Moore were on the receiving end of a hard 4-1 defeat and were eliminated at the semi-final stage.

Moore recalled: "I remember it vividly like it is yesterday, really.

"It shows what can happen. At Hillsborough, the crowd will be at least double that.

"I have witnessed Hillsborough in full voice and love it.

"The supporters have really energised me in public this week and I have had so many Wednesdayites out there who have encouraged me and driven it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"In the academy, the younger kids have been absolutely tremendous when we have come out of the office late in the evening as have the staff who are all Wednesdayites."

Should anyone of a blue and white persuasion be wavering as to whether they will attend this evening, given events in Cambridgeshire, Moore also has a clear message and plea to any doubters.

The Owls manager said: "Please, please have a rethink and get down to S6. We need you. Please don't think 'oh, I will stay at home and watch it in my armchair.'

"We need everyone in the stadium. I speak on behalf of myself and group of players.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"When I came on here (pre-match press), I said I'd be speaking directly to the supporters and it's a personal message."

Understandably, Moore cut a dejected figure in the immediate aftermath of Friday's wretched night and result, but as the public face and front-of-house figure, he realises that he has to retain some semblance of hope.

If he doesn't create that impression, who will follow in fairness?

But there is also another factor to consider. Who motivates the motivator..

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In fairness, the support from Wednesdayites he has met in the working week in Sheffield has revived him, even accounting for one cowardly, despicable individual who elected to abuse Moore on social media instead and is now facing a deserved punishment.

Importantly, Moore's boss in Owls chief Dejphon Chansiri also had words of support for the 49-year-old in the wake of one of the most bruising nights in his footballing career.

Moore commented: "We have had a good chat about it and we have spoken about the game as he was obviously there watching it live.

"He saw it for himself in terms of how the game ebbed and flowed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Like ourselves, he was obviously disappointed with it and now he is very much looking forward to this game and sending positive energies to the group and players and staff, which is great.

"He is leading from the front.

"The first leg was by no means an ideal scoreline but what's happened has happened.

"We've got together and continued to work, as we have done all season. We've now got a game in front of a packed Hillsborough and we just want to go and win the game.

"As we go with that mindset and mentality, we'll see what happens in the game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The big thing for me and the most important cog is the fans. Over the last 20, 30, 40 years, the most consistent thing is the fans who will continue to support the club."

For their part, opponents Peterborough are mindful that an early goal for themselves would shatter any early enthusiasm from the home faithful.

Posh chief Darren Ferguson said: "It’s an unusual one as we obviously start the game 4-0 ahead, but the best way to quieten what will be a big home crowd is get on the front foot and score the first goal.

"Going there to defend all game would not suit us at all."

Last six games: Sheffield Wednesday LWWWWL; Peterborough LDLDWW.

Referee: D Webb (Co.Durham).

Last time: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Peterborough 0, March 4, 2023; League One.