High-flying Owls are in the money – and in luck too

Sheffield Wednesday 1 Leyton Orient 0

Numerologists assure us that the once-in-a-century date 10.10.10 is a strong moment of rebirth. Sheffield Wednesday launched their renaissance 24 hours early, news of a £2m down-payment on a probable takeover being followed by a win over Leyton Orient that lifted them into the League One play-off zone.

Centre-back Lewis Buxton headed the goal which gave Alan Irvine's side a flattering victory after lowly Orient outplayed them, especially in the first half. Irvine admitted the home dressing-room was "like a morgue" afterwards because the players "knew they didn't play as they can". However, 17,000 long-suffering fans will have departed as they arrived, buoyed by the prospect of a new dawn at Hillsborough.

During the build-up to the match, Howard Wilkinson, the former Wednesday manager who is now chairman, made the announcement Wednesdayites craved. One of the interested consortiums – believed to be fronted by another former manager, Chris Turner, and using Middle East oil money – had advanced the club £2m to kick-start the process of regime change.

Wednesday, who were in the Premier League as recently as 2000, are £27m in debt and due in the High Court on 17 November to face a winding-up order from Her Majesty's Customs & Revenue over £600,000 in unpaid PAYE. Wilkinson, who returned to his first love after leading Leeds to the League title and holding the England manager's job on a caretaker basis, said the payment would "deal with immediate cash-flow difficulties", particularly with regard to the taxman.

While declining to confirm Turner's involvement, or reveal the identity of the potential investors he has brought to Hillsborough, Wilkinson said: "This is the first time in my memory that any potential investor has actually put some cash on the table. Now we can actually start thinking about the future, not just the present, and certainly not the past."

Pronouncing himself "pleased and relieved" by developments, Wilkinson added: "I'm very happy we've managed to get where we are. We're not absolutely there yet, but this is a terrific sign. There are legal formalities and issues to deal with, but everyone is comfortable that these things won't be a problem."

Wilkinson expected to see "bigger smiles on people's faces" at the ground, yet the feelgood factor was sorely tested during a first half in which Orient belied their relegation-zone status to carve Wednesday open at regular intervals. Nicky Weaver, the goalkeeper who fulfilled a boyhood ambition by scoring in front of the Kop to settle the midweek shoot-out with Chesterfield in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy, reverted to his day job to deny Sean Revell and Dean Cox, while the former Orient captain Darren Purse cleared off the line from Cox.

Wednesday could not break down an Orient side who often pulled nine men behind the ball before striking on the counter-attack. They threatened only once before and after the goal, when Gary Teale cut in from the left and forced Lee Butcher to parry, and were booed off at half-time.

The mood on the pitch belatedly matched the optimism off it in the 52nd minute. From Teale's corner, four home players formed a queue around the penalty spot. When the ball reached the far post, one of the fast-dispersing quartet, Buxton, converted a downward header.

James O'Connor promptly cleared off the line from Terrell Forbes in an almighty scramble. When the same player survived a penalty appeal after blocking Stephen Dawson's shot with a hand, Hillsborough sensed that this, clearly, was Wednesday's Saturday.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker