The crowds started arriving from 6:30pm, such was the appetite to meet four Wednesday heroes and bag a good seat in the sold-out 1867 Lounge in Hillsborough's South Stand. There was ample time to get a drink and take in the stage for the evening, which was decked out with four Owls shirts bearing the names of the four guests of honour - WHITHAM 9, WYLDE 9, HIRST 9 and of course MADINE 14.
News had filtered through from the club that Gary Madine, having been down to Wembley for his FA hearing due to his sending-off against old club Carlisle, had been kept waiting by the FA and was therefore haring his way back up the M1 to get to the event - but was still 30 minutes away as we got underway. Not to worry - there was still plenty to talk about even in the absence of the Owls' current strike star! MC Seth Bennett (a late substitute himself for John Pearson) got proceedings underway by introducing the stars of the show and handed over to the crowd to ask their questions of the three legends in attendance.
Hirsty himself was the first to be quizzed on Wednesday's season so far and noted how important it was to have a goalscorer find form to drive early performances in a season when you're seeking promotion. He handed over to both Rodger Wylde and Jack Whitham, who echoed Hirsty's sentiments at the strong start the Owls had made - Rodger in particular being enthused to see the Owls dominate at home, and professing that he's still a big fan of the club he grew up supporting.
Jack Whitham was asked to take the audience on a walk down memory lane to the legendary 5-4 victory over European Champions Manchester United at Hillsborough in August 1968, and revealed that he still regarded the Nobby Stiles 'own goal' as his fourth of the match, whilst Rodger was quizzed about his relationship with the man who sold him, Jack Charlton - and told a wonderful and hilarious anecdote about a night in the country with the legendary Owls manager.
Just in time for the end of the first half in walked the Goal Machine and took his place at the top table. The very first question he faced was on his goalscoring aims for the season - would he reach 30 by the time May came? His answer - that he would be happy scoring only one more goal all season if it meant the team were promoted - was applauded by the audience, but challenged by Hirsty, who guessed (perhaps correctly) that any striker wants to be playing and scoring. As he put it "we may have lost five-one, but at least I got one"!
A break for the pie and pea supper gave ample opportunity for fans to meet, chat and have photos taken with the four guests of honour, before we all settled in for the second half.
After more great exchanges including but not limited to Hirsty's feud with Benito Carbone, Rodger's upcoming book and Jack's having to 'learn' to hate Sheffield United as a Burnley lad who counted half the Blades squad as his friends, not to mention Gary's thoughts on Ryan Lowe and Chris O'Grady's partnership while he was on an enforced absence from the Wednesday team, the night was closed out with a game of stand-up bingo and our raffle - with the winners getting the great prize of the (now-signed) shirts that the legends were sitting in front of, and a one-off Wednesdayite Hillsborough Panorama canvas that had been donated by the kind folks at Blue Strawberry Elephant who do the SWFC Official Gallery products in the Megastore and online.
270 Owls fans went home very happy after the first - but by no means the last - Hirsty's bar of the season!