When the 2016/17 fixture list handed Wednesday a curtain raiser against Aston Villa at Hillsborough, memories were immediately stirred of an S6 thriller back in August 1992 when the two teams last went head to head on the opening day.
The stakes will be high when the Owls host the newly-relegated Midlanders but emotions were off the scale 24 years ago when football’s finger of fate pointed new Villa manager Ron Atkinson to a baptism of fire at his old stamping ground of Hillsborough.
Earlier in the summer, popular boss Atkinson – having just led Wednesday to a promotion and League Cup double – left for Villa in the most controversial circumstances having pledged his future to the Owls following interest from the Second City giants.
So when the computer paired Wednesday with Villa for the first game of the 1991/92 campaign, an electric atmosphere was assured. And the game didn’t disappoint.
Wednesday stormed into a two-goal lead in the first half through David Hirst and Danny Wilson and the points seemed destined to stay with the hosts – but Big Ron’s side had other ideas.
Cyrille Regis reduced the arrears just before the break and ex-Owl Dalian Atkinson levelled early in the second period. Steve Staunton promptly sealed Wednesday’s seven minutes from time to complete the comeback.
The Owls’ newly-installed player/manager Trevor Francis said: “What nobody said before the match was that Ron knows us inside out.
“That helped him change things at the break. We allowed them back into it by not playing as we should.”