SHEFFIELD - Sunday 15th May1966
The following article was taken from the Sheffield Telegraph May 31st 1991
and it describes the events of Sunday 15th May1966.
FOR 50,000 people massed outside the Town Hall, the disappointment of Wembley only 24 hours previously was drowned in a tidal wave of blue and white.
There was captain Don Megson, on the Town Hall balcony holding aloft a stuffed owl in Wednesday colours instead of the FA Cup - and the supporters were cheering as though a third of the match never happened.
As though Everton had never bounced back from two down ... as though it was Megson who led the winning team to the Royal box instead of making history as leading the first losers in a lap of honour at Wembley.
The date was Sunday, May 15, 1966. Still wondering how they lost 3-2, Wednesday players and officials returned to Sheffield by train.
Waiting for them at the Midland Station was a new coach painted in blue and white and a special rooftop platform from which the team could see and be seen as they drove through the City centre to the Town Haft for a civic reception and then back home to Hillsborough.
Don Megson, still living in Sheffield, says the most vivid memory is of the welcome at the station.
"The parade bad been planned in advance and we were all a bit anxious because we bad not won the Cup and it may have turned out to be an embarrassment. But as it turned out, it was absolutely tremendous. The reception we got at the station was unbelievable. I remember Gerry Young having a few tears in his eyes when we stepped out. It was the initial reception and it was the same all the way along."
"All the route was lined with people - I don't think there were any bare patches. It felt as though the whole of Sheffield was there."
Estimates of the size of the crowds varied from 100,000 to 250,000, but it was generally accepted that more people turned out that day than Wednesday actually won the Cup in 1935. All police leave was cancelled with 300 officers on duty.
Manager Alan Brown said at the time: "This is the best welcome I've ever seen in football."
The coach, bearing the traditional Wednesday crest, crawled up The Moor to the Town Hall where the biggest crowd had gathered. Police brought down fans who were sitting on a pitched roof opposite the Town Hall and 12 people fainted in the crush.
The biggest cheer was when the team stepped on to the Town Hall balcony. One by one, each player said a few words into a microphone – heartfelt thank-you 's greeted with roars of approval from below.
Skipper Megson, promised: "One day we'll bring the Cup back for you."
In the crowd was Clive Betts, now Sheffield Council leader and among those leading the tributes at tonight’s civic reception.
He recalls some emotions. "We couldn’t get over the fact that we bad actually lost, but at the same time there was a good feeling that we had got to the final and had something to celebrate. But we still believed we should have been there with the Cup."
The singing, chanting and scarf-waving refused to die down, but eventually the Players and team officials retired into the relative tranquillity of the Town Hall for a champagne reception hosted by the Lord Mayor, Alderman Jack Worrall.
Afterwards, the coach made its way back slowly to Hillsborough with crowds still lining every stretch of the way.
David Ford, the scorer of one of Wednesday’s goals at Wembley, who now runs a heating & plumbing business in the city, recalls the huge crowds outside the Town Hall.
"To say we bad lost the Cup, it was fantastic. God knows what would have happened if we bad won it. The Town Hall was a mass of people and we had no cup to show them."
Graham Pugh, now landlord of the Freemasons pub at Malin Bridge, says: "It was phenomenal. There were crowds all along the way back to Hillsborough We couldn't do more than 5mph. Outside the Town Hall the crowd surged forward. It was as though we bad won the Cup."
Johnny Quinn who has a sports' shop in Middlewood Road, says "All I can remember is a lot of people turning out, the colours and the cheering. "It was just an enjoyable day, but a day I shall never forget and I'm sure it will be the same this time”.
Also at the shop is Gerry Young "It's a bit hazy, but I remember coming out of the station and never really expecting the crowds.' It was great, but it was a shame we didn't have the Cup. The crowds were magnificent and it made us feel a little bit better.
"When we came out on the Town Hall balcony and saw all the people, it was really something we shall never forget. It was just a pity we didn’t have the old tin pot . .
As a footnote, I was actually in the crowd that day but sadly do not appear on the photograph - I was further down Pinstone Street more or less adjacent to the Peace Gardens. I had a pretty good view of the Town Hall balcony, and saw all of the proceedings.
Forty two years on, the club's quest "for the old tin pot" remains as elusive as ever.
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