However, a mid-season collapse saw an untimely run of defeats occur, resulting in Alan Irvine’s departure from the club.
New chairman Milan Mandaric said at the time that he needed to do what was right for the club, and he quickly brought in Gary Megson, who had two stints at the club in his playing days and who himself is a passionate Wednesday supporter. Megson didn’t enjoy a great start and admitted that the season was effectively about staying in League One and building the foundations for a promotion push next year.
The summer brought with it renewed optimism around Hillsborough. New signings arrived and deadwood was sold off. The club appointed a new captain and together with a settled playing squad, Wednesday have made a solid start to the 2011-12 campaign, currently well-placed at the top end of the table.
One of the high points of the year has to be the Steel City derby, in which Wednesday recovered from 2-0 down to snatch a point right at the death. A committed performance resulted in a hugely valuable point.
Another highlight was the pulsating 4-4 draw against Huddersfield at Hillsborough, in front of over 28,000 – a crowd that would not look out of place in the top flight.
Looking ahead to the next 12 months, there is no doubt that promotion is the key priority. Wednesday look well-placed at the moment, but they must avoid a repeat of last year’s second half of the campaign, which ultimately cost them.
Below, we look at some of the key facts and figures about the Owls league form in 2011 and hand out some personal awards.
(League stats only)
16 – The number of goals Gary Madine struck for the Owls, making him the club’s top scorer in the calendar year.
71 – From 48 games, (a possible 144 points) the Owls took 71 points. 20 wins, 11 draws and 17 defeats.
12 – The number of clean sheets recorded in 2011
28,600 – the highest attendance at S6 v Huddersfield (Dec 17)
Player of the Year
Gary MADINE – brought in for a substantial six-figure fee in January, Madine took time to get going but once he did he hit a purple patch. The striker notched 16 goals in total in 2011, and will look to emulate that in 2012.
Goal of the Year
David PRUTTON v Rochdale (Aug 6) – the midfielder slammed home a thunderous effort on the first day of the season in front of the Kop on his Owls debut.
Game of the Year
OWLS 4-4 Huddersfield – for pure entertainment, this Yorkshire derby was pulsating. A big crowd, eight goals and two promotion rivals slugging it out showed what League One football is all about.
Comeback of the Year
Sheff Utd 2-2 OWLS – Wednesday looked dead and buried, 2-0 down away from home at Bramall Lane with just ten minutes on the clock, but a stunning fightback saw Chris O’Grady and Gary Madine snatch a valuable point in the enemy’s backyard.
Flop of the Year
Michael MORRISON – the centre-half was signed for £250,000 from Leicester City in January, but struggled to live up to expectations. After six months and just 12 league outings, he was shipped out to Charlton Athletic.
Most Improved Player of the Year
Reda JOHNSON – the Benin international was bought in January but struggled to make an impact. However, since the summer Johnson has been transformed into a left-back and has put in a number of quality performances and even scored seven times in 2011, to justify his quarter-of-a-million price tag."
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