In my five months of covering the Owls’ fortunes up and down the country, I’ve quickly learned Wednesdayites are, generally, a pretty tolerant set of football fans.
They will accept a fair amount of mediocrity as long as the team gives everything for the cause.
Given the manner of the side’s performance in their midweek defeat to Bournemouth, Wednesday’s supporters had every right to voice their displeasure at half-time and at the final whistle. It was a deeply concerning display.
Too many senior players went into their shells and appeared frightened of making mistakes in possession. “We seemed to down tools after going down to 10 men,” said Owls head coach Stuart Gray. Fear is creeping into their play.
They showed no stomach for the fight, caving in timidly after the visitors second goal. A beaten team resigned to their fate.
After an encouraging start to the campaign, things have gradually unravelled ever since their mauling at the Etihad Stadium. Confidence is low and injuries to first-team players, such as Joe Mattock and Sam Hutchinson, have added to Gray’s woes.
You don’t have to be a genius to see where they are falling short. Four goals in their last nine matches tells its own sorry tale.
Thirty eight days have passed since Wednesday last scored on home soil. Their three strikes to date have all come from set pieces.
Following the Bournemouth result, Gray’s position has come under increased scrutiny but the players have to take their share of the blame for the club’s poor run of form. Some members of the squad have under-performed and let him down in recent weeks.
Nearly seven weeks ago, the Owls were in the top six and dreaming of a play-off challenge. Now, after eight league matches without a win, they are nervously looking over their shoulder. It just shows how quickly things can change in this division.
The supporters have not turned on Gray, who performed a miracle in keeping Wednesday up last season, but their patience is wearing thin as attendances continue to decrease. Only 16,881 watched Tuesday’s abject showing.
The team are not giving supporters enough to shout about at home but will need their backing more than ever tomorrow.