Alan Biggs: Freefalling Sheffield Wednesday could be forced to wheel and deal as they face up to realities of FFP
Why should the fix for a football problem be throwing more money at it? Sometimes that is part of the problem in the first place; if it is thrown in the wrong direction and especially if there is no money coming back.
Right now there are people throwing their arms up in despair over the future of Sheffield Wednesday. Admittedly it looks far from good. Nowhere near as healthy as it should after all the money “thrown at it.” And it’s just as well there are consistently losing teams in the bottom three as a freefalling Wednesday – one win in 13 league matches – look incapable of saving themselves at the moment.
But in my view, trying to extract something constructive from the mess of this season, there’s no reason to be stampeded into panic if it’s on the basis of the near £21m loss of the last financial year or speculation over embargoes on spending. Providing lessons are learned. And providing the club acts fast on turning over the squad this summer, hopefully ahead of any potential restrictive measure. The bottom line is that, with anything like a clean bill of health, Wednesday still have some damn good players. You don’t need me to name them or state that several of the injured would walk into most Championship sides. Or repeat recent articles about a depth of young talent that wouldn’t have surfaced in other circumstances.
For all the problems that have produced a season of desperate under-achievement, you’d struggle to find too many managers below the Premier League who wouldn’t fancy taking over that little lot. Who wouldn’t rub their hands at the challenge of reshaping such a jigsaw, taking out some pieces in a swap for new ones and also leaving less pieces to puzzle over by pushing some under-achievers through the door.
Not being able to add a marquee signing or two should not be the end of Wednesday’s world but the beginning of a new one. With good overall management. With expertise on trading. And that, for want of a better term, requires some good old fashioned “wheeling and dealing.”
Good managers of the traditional hands-on variety create their own wealth by making a lot of a little. Sean Dyche, of Burnley, is perhaps the best modern example. Across the city, one current manager and two former ones have defied the arithmetical odds with their shrewdness.
Relatively, in times bleaker than this, the Owls could point to the reigns of Paul Sturrock (inheriting good players from Chris Turner), Brian Laws and latterly Stuart Gray.
One thing the current situation is not about is a lack of money or investment or ambition. Or of talent on the field. It’s about the skill of playing the hand. Wednesday still have a good deck assuming they stay up. Can they play the cards right in future after the failure of recent trading (or lack of) ?
Whether Jos Luhukay is the man oversee the shake-up remains to be seen. He did not create the downward trajectory. On the other hand, currently he is failing to reverse it. Whoever is in charge of the team come the summer needs to be exactly that in my opinion. With the power and expertise to rearrange the dressing room furniture and shift it into shape.