Has any opening home game at Hillsborough ever had more riding on it? Even three points comes way below the symbolic importance of a winning start for Sheffield Wednesday in front of their own fans.
However you dress it up, it’s a pressurised backdrop and, ironically, all the more so in that visitors Hull City are widely tipped for another season of struggle. It’s a real mood-setter.
But here’s the bottom line for me. I’m convinced Owls fans will do what they have nearly always done in my experience – support the team in noise and numbers.
Ultimately, it’s their club and, for all the current recriminations and the let-down defeat at Wigan, their boisterous backing is the one thing you can guarantee.
It might seem trite or patronising to say this but, when all the off-field noise abates, it’s vital to have something over which there’s no argument.
Right now, there is precious little on that front - other than these two items of common ground;-
1/ Wednesday is one of the best-backed clubs in the division (on and off the field) and last weekend boasted the biggest away following.
2/ The club still has an enviable squad with many good players (barring any nasty shocks on deadline day).
Put those fundamentals together and that’s where the salvation of this season – and beyond – lies.
It’s not in looking back, much as the mistakes have been obvious and the disillusionment of many fans is understandable.
The only value of hindsight is learning from those mistakes, many signposted for some time here and elsewhere. Wisdom after the event can be good if heeded.
Where’s the shame in having a go, giving it everything, coming up just short and having to draw breath? Judgment of owner Dejphon Chansiri must always be respectful of that.
While I have criticisms, dating far back, about how Wednesday has landed itself with a transfer embargo, I can find no fault with someone, who clearly cares deeply, giving it their best shot. Or for having to take time out to reload.
It’s more for other reasons – pricing particularly – the club has found itself under fire and the perception of it as a whole matters a great deal.
That, rather than events on the field, is at the core of any discontent – which, incidentally, a few wins can help eradicate.
As long as I have reported football, it is the club which provides the team and the fans who then come out to support it – as at S6 they have done.
Not the other way around. Another timeless truth is that, broadly, fans cheer wins and boo defeats.
But each to his own in running a football club.
When you have paid handsomely for the privilege and keep on paying, some tolerance is required.
It is an utterly thankless task; giving social media a wide berth is a must for anyone’s sanity in that position.
This is more a view of the football than anything wider – even though those other issues, like the club’s match coverage, are important. Praise without objectivity is hollow. When it comes to commentaries (accepting there are wider arguments on both sides of the BBC Radio Sheffield black-out), an organisation is not the best and most credible judge of itself.
As for FFP, it’s not just because of the risk of a fine (arguably a flimsy and inadequate punishment for transgressors) that clubs should respect it, as Wednesday rightly do.
It’s because the regulations are in place for their own good and that of the game as a whole. Whereas parachute payments most certainly are not. End them now.
Back to the top to end. Let’s see good players backed by loud support coming together to put down a strong marker on Saturday.