Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Wednesday show their Steel

With Sheffield Wednesday taking an early lead at the top of League One, Turls looks at how the Owls have responded after relegation last term.

Sheffield Wednesday fans have recent experience of life in League One

It's easy to get dragged into the never-ending negativity that surrounds football. The constant stream of clubs in financial danger. Players getting arrested. Fans getting in brawls. Unnecessary sackings and ridiculous hirings.

It's enough to make a grown man weep. But, as we wipe away the tears, several beacons of hope are shining out across the footballing landscape.

Torquay currently shine as one of the brightest after going nearly 1000 minutes without conceding a goal. Although I'm not a great fan of the Gulls, it's brilliant to see a former Non League club doing so well after having serious off pitch problems.

I'm here to tell you about another club who have been hanging out with KC and the Sunshine Band though - Sheffield Wednesday.

Oh, how the Owls are soaring. After years of what can only be deemed underachievement, Wednesday fans are enjoying a fantastic start to the season.

Losing to Brentford on Sunday puts something of a dampener on this piece, but I'm going to go ahead with it anyway.

Top of the league with ten points from a possible 15, through to the next round of the mighty JPT and, with Southampton trying to shoot themselves in the foot, they could well see themselves staying at the top all season.

Now, I know what you're going to say, "It's early days," and, "They've only played five games," and, "Nobody reads your blog so stop wasting valuable internet space."

Well, these are all valid points and I heartily agree with all of them - except saying nobody reads the blog because I've seen the statistics.

It is too soon to start saying the league is theirs to lose, or saying another team's season is over. The point is - Sheffield Wednesday have bounced back remarkably well since getting relegated from the Championship last year.

They went down on the final day of the season after drawing with relegation rivals Crystal Palace, but that appeared to be the least of their worries.

Off the pitch, the Owls were in a spot of real bother. It's a familiar story with Wednesday, and you have to wonder how long it will be before the club sorts itself out off the pitch.

There have been many questions asked of Wednesday off the pitch and, at the moment, they don't appear to have all the answers. On the field though, answers are being hurled back at an alarming rate.

Owls boss Alan Irvine is aiming for promotion back to the Championship

League One is a notoriously difficult division to win after getting relegated. Leeds and Nottingham Forest are the two biggest names to have struggled to get back into the Championship.

Wednesday have experienced in the division having spent a couple of seasons in the third tier a few years ago. Although the team now is completely different to then, it is valuable knowledge that could help them gain automatic promotion.

Look at the team, and you'll struggle to find many better squads in the division.

Neil Mellor will thrive in League One - as his recent performance against Hartlepool showed - and, with the club managing to hold onto Marcus Tudgay and Jermaine Johnson, they're not lacking options up top.

In defence they are very tight, and have only conceded twice in the league. With the very experienced Darren Purse running the backline and Nicky Weaver between the sticks, Owls fans should be prepared for an unusual season of defensive strength.

They key asset to this squad, too, is the manager, Alan Irvine. We here at Soccer AM/MW are fans of Irvine and were shocked and appalled when Preston North End decided to sack him in favour of Darren Ferguson.

The decision seemed harsh and unnecessary. North End were sitting in a comfortable position and, although they showed no signs of pushing for the play offs, they had a better chance of success with Irvine than an unproven manager who had bought his way up the leagues.

Irvine took charge of Wednesday last season and, although he couldn't help them stave off relegation, he had put them in a great position to bounce right back.

He knows the club is in a precarious financial position and his role is to get them back into the Championship at the first time of asking.

There are some tough teams in the division and it won't be easy, but the foundation is there for it to happen.

Mentally, this is a tough task, but it is a task Irvine feels can be accomplished with minimum fuss. He can look at the success of Leicester and Norwich as inspiration.

Along with that, there is the potential for him to stick two fingers up to former club Preston.

If Wednesday get promoted and North End relegated, then Irvine will feel he's gone some of the way to proving they were wrong to sack him. A fact the rest of the footballing world is already well aware of.

No comments:

Post a Comment