To Whom It May Concern,
Of late Sheffield Wednesday players have been taking a bit of a beating on social sites such as Twitter, being criticised for their lack of talent, their hairstyle, the way that they breathe, and every other aspect of their lives that some people think deserves to be scrutinised.
Look, we all know that this season hasn’t quite panned out like many an optimistic Wednesdayite had hoped that it would. I know we’re not challenging for the title or repeating heroic comebacks week after week, but something the guys do seem to be doing is showing a bit of battle.
In the game against Middlesborough we were beaten by the better team, there’s no debating that. They looked extremely confident on the ball, had players like Josh McEachran who really looked a cut above the rest, and took their goals well. Yet at times we didn’t look too out of our depths. That was pleasing.
I, like most Wednesday fans, was pleasantly buoyed by the brilliant start that we had to this season. Despite the fact that we were recently promoted, had a relatively small side, who were under a lot of pressure, we were doing well. Then, however, the inevitable happened…
We hit a bad patch. We hit a bad patch that hasn’t really come to a proper end yet, and as it stands we’re still sat 20th in the league, mere points above the relegation zone. However, as I’ve said before, we are a club in transition, now is not the time to panic and start hurling abuse at the men who can get us out of this predicament.
Before the recent transfer window closed I felt as though Dave Jones had assembled a good squad. We’d attracted a higher calibre of player than we’d had from the season previous and kept hold of many of the men that worked their arses off to get us to the Championship, creating what I thought was a nice mix.
Did I expect another straight promotion? No. Of course the 13-year-old Owl inside me thought, “You know what? Maybe we can do this…” but the rational journalist in me realised our real situation. We were a team in transition, a team that needs to gel, and a team that needs to focus, this season at least, purely on staying in the division.
Dave Jones took a floundering Gary Megson-managed side and completed an unimaginable league turn around that saw us leapfrog our fiercest rivals and claim promotion, he has earned himself the chance to have a fair crack of the whip at Hillsborough.
I recently read a piece by Dale Johnson, an avid Wednesdayite like ourselves, who seemed to put it best.
Dale said, “This is a new side, with a relatively new manager trying to find an effective way of moulding his team. Why is the default position for so many fans the trigger button? I’ve been there myself, as there are occasions when the much-used ‘give him time’ argument is nothing more than an exercise in time wasting. But Dave Jones is not a Yorath, nor a Turner, nor a Jewell, nor a Megson. He is a proper football manager who will build something at this club, not a five minute grope behind the bike shed.”
I understand that, as Wednesday fans, we think we deserve more glory than your Huddersfield Towns and your Brighton and Hove Albions, but the fact of the matter is, other than last season, we’ve earned about as much right to think that in recent years as my five-a-side team here in Cape Town.
More to the point, how much of an impetus is it to the players pulling on the famous blue and white shirt when a small group of fickle buggers are laying into them because of a prior performance. Would it spur you on? It’d p*ss me off.
Don’t get me wrong. These guys are not beyond criticism, to no extent are they bigger than Sheffield Wednesday, none of them. However, what they do deserve is to be able to log onto their Twitter accounts and see words of encouragement and not a barrage of abuse.
I would LOVE to see Wednesday in the Premier League. I’m currently on a one-man mission to convert as many South Africans into honourary Wednesdayites as I can (something I’m having a reasonable amount of success in) and I wear my shirt every match day.
I’m an optimist, like most of you, and I think that we can rectify this season and finish happily mid-table. However, in order to do that then we need to back our players, give them the support that they need and stop treating Jones and Co. with the respect that you’d offer to something that came out of your dog’s backside.
Now is not the time to panic, we’ve spent too many years doing that. Now is the time to enjoy being back in the Championship and spur our boys on to winning as many points as possible up until Christmas. If we’re sat in the relegation zone come the start of the year then I give you permission to come after me with pitchforks and scream, ‘I told you so!’ But until then… we’re all Wednesday, arent we?
Can We Kick It? @YesWeCrann