The Owls had finished 12th the season before in a campaign that had included the now infamous sending off of Italian attacker Paolo Di Canio – which happened on this day in 1998 – and had picked up wins over Liverpool and Charlton Athletic to end the season on a high under Danny Wilson.
What followed, though, largely set the tone for years to come…
Defeat to the Reds and a loss at Old Trafford against Manchester United saw Wednesday’s campaign begin with two defeats, but a 1-1 draw with Bradford City got a point on the board in the third game.
Benito Carbone scored his final Owls goal in a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur a week later, and things continued to get worse. Five more defeats would follow during which Wilson’s side conceded 15 goals - including five from Alan Shearer in a demolishing from Newcastle United.
It took until October 2nd, and Wednesday’s 10th game of the Premier League campaign, before they finally tasted victory, but joy was short-lived. A 5-1 win against Wimbledon got them three points, but was one of only eight wins all season as they succumbed to relegation from the top-flight never to be seen again.
On Friday night the Owls take on Sunderland in their ninth game of 2023/24, and while they do have a point more than Wilson’s side did at that point they have the same amount of wins – zero.
Wednesday have more games to turn things around this season given that there are 46 matches rather than the 36 they played in 1999/2000, but fans will be desperate for their side to avoid the start that doomed them in what proved to be their final top-flight campaign.
In 2013/14 they went 12 games without a victory but lost only four - that campaign saw them end up in 16th place.
Xisco’s side face the Black Cats at 8pm on Friday knowing that not even a win will get them out of the relegation zone, however it would provide a major boost to a side that has looked bereft of confidence in recent weeks.
The Spaniard is under increasing pressure at Hillsborough, and would love to see his side secure victory on home soil for the first time.