Recent times have seen many changes at S6. Changes include the development of the Hillsborough stadium, players, the board and the general infrastructure of the club.
Owls fans already know, Sheffield Wednesday is more than a football club. Sheffield Wednesday is a symbol. The blue and white stripes, the ‘Owl’ and the motto ‘Consilio et Animis’ (Wisdom and courage) are just some representations of the club that are seen throughout the UK each time the players step onto the playing turf.
As Wednesday fans, we are all part of the S6 family. Mascot, Ozzie the Owl, is one well known Hillsborough icon known by the fans young and old. Ozzie the Owl is often seen before, during and post-match.
Ozzie was an ever present as matchday mascot from 1990 to 2006. He was then reintroduced in 2009, a home league fixture to Charlton Athletic in January of that year. Initially, Ozzie the Owl was a character created by Ruben Grossman back in 1949, appearing in the ‘Funny Folks’ publication.
This week I caught up with Ozzie the Owl to question him on the past, present and future of Sheffield Wednesday.
Q: When and how did you become a Sheffield Wednesday mascot?
A: 1999/2000 season, recommendation from a friend at the club.
Q: How do you and fellow mascot Barney prepare for a match day?
A: Nothing special, make sure we drink plenty of water as dehydration is a concern.
We meet up about 1:30 and work out where we need to visit.
Q: Besides matchday, what other opportunities arise as a Sheffield Wednesday mascot?
A: Mascot Races, Parties, Charity Events, Owls in the Park to name a few.
Q: What is the best thing about being a Sheffield Wednesday mascot?
A: I get to be part of the club I love and support.
Q: Current favourite Sheffield Wednesday player and why?
A: Keiren Westwood. In my playing days I was a keeper, so I always appreciate a great keeper.
Q: Favourite ever Sheffield Wednesday player and why?
A: Following on from my previous answer, has to be the legend that is Kevin Pressman! He is the reason I became a keeper.
Q: Best Sheffield Wednesday moment at Hillsborough?
A: From a personal point of view the promotion game against Wycombe. All four sides of the great stadium full of Wednesday fans in party mode! An atmosphere never to be forgotten.
Q: Best game you have seen at Hillsborough?
A: The recent 6-0 demolition of Leeds sticks in my mind.
Q: Best goal you have seen at Hillsborough?
A: The one that springs to mind is Di Piedi’s overhead kick vs Sunderland in the League Cup.
Q: Expectations this season?
A: It would be brilliant to get automatic promotion, but a play-off place should be achievable. Top 10 should be the minimum aim.
Q: Where do you see Sheffield Wednesday in three years?
A: In the Premier League!!!
Hopefully we will see mascots Ozzie & Barney long into the future at Hillsborough as we continue to take progressive forward steps towards the Premier League.
Look out for them both on Saturday 3rd October, as Sheffield Wednesday take on Preston North End at home. Be sure to say ‘hi’ and grab a photo.