After eight years at Blackburn, Brett Emerton will be allowed to return to Australia. The 32-year-old, who created the opening goal in what was almost certainly his final action for the club, has agreed a three-year contract with Sydney FC.
"He has young children and this is something of a family decision," said the manager Steve Kean. This, however, was a night about Blackburn's future rather than a man who is soon to become part of its past. Perhaps because Venky's crave a someone to convince audiences in Mumbai or Delhi that its ownership of Blackburn is a serious business, Kean's transfer headlines have revolved around patently unsuitable names like Ronaldinho and Raul.
Here, however, was a contest settled by two young forwards whose arrival would not have caused much of a ripple in Accrington, let alone Agra – products of Barcelona's La Masia academy and Dundee United's school of hard knocks. Between them, Rubén Rochina and David Goodwillie knocked Sheffield Wednesday out cold before the travelling Yorkshire support had unfurled their banners.
The game was three minutes old when Emerton, thundering down the right flank, delivered the cross that Rochina anticipated before his marker and volleyed home emphatically. Less than a minute later, he took a pass from Goodwillie, briefly lost his balance, and then shot hard and with remarkable precision into the corner of Richard O'Donnell's net.
Kean was probably taking a risk with Goodwillie when he brought him down from Tayside – and it was as much in terms of his off-the-field behaviour as the £2.8m paid to Dundee United. The early signs are encouraging and in the seventh minute Rochina provided the assist and, just for variation, Goodwillie placed it in the other corner of O'Donnell's net.
There was a sliver of hope for Wednesday when Clinton Morrison drove home in the second half but these sides have met three times in the League Cup in recent seasons and on each occasion they have found themselves in a lower division. Gary Megson bizarrely called this "a magnificent night to be a Sheffield Wednesday manager". He was referring to the passion of the Yorkshire support rather than the quality of the football they watched.