‘Pulling a Kinnock’ is a term used when one celebrates an event too early and is left to admit that you were more premature than 15 year old with a copy of Razzle.
In 1992 the Labour Party were expecting to win the general election and usher in a Thatcherless age. So sure were Labour that the country wanted this too they held a rally at Sheffield Arena to celebrate their inevitable victory.
10,000 supporters gathered in the Arena to see Neil Kinnock and his soon to be promoted cabinet. Kinnock arrived in a helicopter, presidential style, and high fived the celebrating Labour supporters as he made his way through the Arena. It was his time and tonight Matthew, he was going to be Bill Clinton.
Like a drunken Delia Smith, Kinnock introduced the ‘future Home Secretary’ and the ‘future Foreign secretary’ to the adoring crowd. He repeated the phrase ‘We’re Alright’ with the self assurance of a man who was going to be Prime Minister. After all if you say something enough times people begin to believe you.
But Neil didn’t become Prime Minister.
Labour lost by a margin of 8% to an ever bland John Major who just doggedly campaigned his way through the election to become the premier politician of the UK.
My reason for caution is for all Sheffield Wednesday fans, a week before our League 1 fate is decided. Don’t attempt to ‘Pull a Kinnock’. No-one wants to be left shamed faced and ginger.
On Saturday 5th May, two days after the local elections, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United will play for the last automatic position in League 1. The Sheffield Swing-o-meter has swung so often this season that Peter Snow has had to retire with exhaustion. Only two weeks ago Sheffield United were in prime position but since the loss of their Minister for Justice, Ched Evans, Sheffield Wednesday have capitalised with a one point lead going into the final round.
In less than a week The Owls are planning a homecoming rally to celebrate promotion. A sell out crowd at Hillsborough of 37,000 is expected for the final game against Wycombe where all four stands will house the Owls fans. All of whom are waiting to be high fived by Dave Jones and told they’re going to be ‘future Championship fans’.
I was at the Labour Sheffield Rally in 1992 which is why I’m heeding this warning. Ironically it was one of many political events that my parents took me to that I didn’t threaten to call ChildLine. I still cry myself to sleep at night thinking about one particular trade union event where in one room union leaders discussed Socialism over whiskey and in the other room folk singers played English ditties. Esther Rantzen very nearly got a stern phonecall that evening.
The Sheffield rally exuded euphoria and misplaced triumphalism but there was a positivity and belief that surrounded me that evening. It’s the same as the vibe I’m picking up on Twitter right now, a belief that The Owls are all but elected to the Championship and lording it over the Blades.
So how do Sheffield Wednesday avoid ‘Pulling a Kinnock?’
Concentrate on the Job in Hand
Unlike the Labour Party in 1992, The Owls future is finally in their own hands. The results are no longer dependent how others perform. A win, or at a push if both teams get a draw, will see Wednesday promoted. Fans need to concentrate on what Sheffield Wednesday are doing not on the oppositions failings (despite how funny it might be!)
Don’t underestimate the opposition.
Sheffield Wednesday need to better or equal the result of Sheffield United to be promoted automatically. The Owls and The Blades opponents are already relegated but never underestimate a team that has nothing to play for. I’m sure Cardiff City will remember that very well when mid tabled mediocre Wednesday beat them on the last day of the season to deny them a play off place. Let’s hope Wycombe aren’t as tenacious as Wednesday were on that day.
Owls fans need to believe but not shout ‘We’re Alright’ until the final count. Sheffield United worked doggedly to draw with play-off hopeful Stevenage. They’re looking to do the same against Exeter.
And Don’t Gloat Too Soon
Remember this face.
The Blades still have a chance, if we don’t take ours.
So fellow Owls elect to be sensible, vote with your voices next Saturday and remember no-one wants to end up like Neil Kinnock.
Let’s celebrate after we’re promoted.