How did it start? - A Brief History
Way back in 1970, John (Band Leader) enlisted for the Cubs band at the 150th Wadsley Church Scout Group in Sheffield. He was 7 years old at the time. 23 years later he decided to relive his childhood and buy a bugle.
As and diehard Sheffield Wednesday fan it wasn’t long until the thought occurred of taking the bugle to a game. So it was that John took the bugle to a Sheffield Wednesday v Everton game at Goodison Park. Wednesday won the game 2-0, the bugle made it’s debut in the 80th minute, having been sneaked in under John’s coat. The crowd went mad and the search was on for the mystery bugler. Trevor Francis the manager of Wednesday at the time found out who the bugler was and called John asking if he’d start a band with drums etc. like Trevor had been used to in Italy during his playing career. This call was followed by Dave Richards the then chairman of SWFC calling to say that the club would buy some drums if we could get the people to do it.
Needless to say the regular group of diehard fans and friends from the Kop at Hillsborough answered the call of their club and became the Wednesday Kop Band creating a fantastic atmosphere home and away for the next three years in support of their club.
It was on a cold midweek night early in the 1996/97 season when the band attended Highbury for the Arsenal v Wednesday game. Having never witnessed a Wednesday win at Highbury (plenty at home though) and fresh from two Wembley defeats in FA and League Cup finals the fans and band were going for it hell for leather when they found themselves 1-0 up and the prospect of a win at Highbury beckoned at last. (Arsenal won 4-1 in the end)
Unbeknown to the band England manager Glenn Hoddle and FA Chief Executive David Davis were in the crowd that night watching the game. They were so impressed with the efforts of the band that the next day John received a call from David Davis asking if the band would play for England!
When John had wiped away the tears the answer was of course yes and the band made their debut at Wembley in October 1996 v Poland a 2-1 win. Naturally the guys were all England fans having been to games before and indeed insisted on doing the job properly playing at away games too. So it was that the band away debut was Poland later that season.
The media coverage was (and still is) extraordinary for a group of lads from the terraces with a full back page photo appearing in The Sun and every other form of media wanting to cover the band. The core values of the band are to support the team and enjoy what we do at the same time and there was never any chance of the media attention affecting this. This is still the case today having visited more than 60 countries and every World Cup and European Finals that England have competed in since those early days in 1996.
The band and fans have generated magnificent support and seen some incredible games over the years including the 5-1 victory in Munich against Germany, beating Argentina at Japan 2002 and Scotland 2-0 at Hampden Park to qualify for Euro 2000. The 0-0 draw against Italy in Rome, to achieve qualification for France ’98, was something really special.
The band are extremely proud to help generate the atmosphere at England games all over the world and see it as a personal challenge, along with the fans, to ‘out shout’ the opposition. This has resulted in a fearsome reputation amongst opposition fans who regard England’s support as the best there is in the world. One day the band will play as England win the World Cup...............one day.