It’s a lesser known fact that during the 1993/94 campaign, Sheffield Wednesday headed overseas to take on Spanish giants Real Madrid!
Domestically, the Owls had slipped to ninth in the Premiership after a 2-1 home defeat to Blackburn on Sunday 20 March.
But with ten days until the next fixture, Wednesday filled that void in a unique way!
Real Madrid, who finished second behind Barcelona in La Liga the previous campaign, staged a series of friendlies away from their Bernabeu home.
The Spanish Cup holders had an arrangement with a national TV station, who had rights to broadcast all the friendly fixtures across the country, in exchange for the purchase of a player!
Wednesday were offered the game having reached two cup finals the previous campaign and so the date was set for Tuesday 22 March.
Following the 2-1 reverse at the hands of Rovers, Wednesday travelled from Heathrow to Seville and then an hour’s coach ride to their hotel in Cordoba.
Trevor Francis had almost the same squad available, save the addition of Andy Pearce, who returned from suspension and minus Roland Nilsson, who was ruled out with an ankle injury.
Ahead of the match, Francis said: “Some may feel that Real Madrid are not quite as famous as they used to be, but I think that their name has a magic of its own, and that they are still the most prestigious club in the world. It will be a good experience for us.”
The Owls were unable to present any threat of substance to the La Liga giants and went down 3-1 at Cordoba’s Nuevo Arcángel home – with John Sheridan’s free kick that levelled the game at 1-1 a highlight for the visitors.
The feeling at the time was that those who played in this game for Real, were the future hopes of World Cup glory for the Spanish national team.
For Wednesday, the game proved quite the tonic, however, as the Owls resumed their league campaign the following Wednesday (30 March) with a 3-1 win over Chelsea.
Wednesday concluded their campaign with an unbeaten league run of nine games.
Real Madrid: Buyo (Jano 54), Chendo, Luis Enrique (Villarroya 45), Nando, Maqued, Milla, Dani, Michel (Toril 45), Dubovsky, Ramis (Jovicevic 76), Martin Vazquez (Llorente 45)
Owls: Pressman, Chernikov [trialist] (Francis 80), Walker, King (Coleman 45), Palmer, Bart-Williams, Pearce (Watson 45), Sheridan (Poric 61), Hyde, Sinton, Bright