Dom Howson’s Sheffield Wednesday article “Protecting My Players” Star, February 21, made for very interesting reading, especially when the team manager Jos Luhukay was quoted as saying “We are playing every few days so I must keep an eye on my players and that’s the reason why I must also change the players in every game.”
As a supporter of neither Sheffield Wednesday or United, I remember the star forwards of the Stanley Matthews era - Tom Finney, Tommy Lawton, Raich Carter, Wilf Mannion,Stan Mortensen - and more recently George Best, Jimmy Greaves, Alan Shearer - together with their established team managers , there were no managerial merry go rounds as we have today! Matthews and company entertained the fans with their football skills playing with the old leather ball - which became very heavy in wet weather and painful to head towards goal - unlike today’s much lighter ball.
Those players were paid a maximum weekly wage of £20, a far cry from today’s £250000 plus for top players. Some had jobs in addition to playing football yet managed to turn out every week if selected and gave their best for club and country. In those days, if the team was playing well it was left undisturbed by the manager and players were picked on performance.
The odd poor game was permissible but repeats were dealt with by demotion to the reserve team!
As a result of playing well as a team, clubs obtained their best standing in their respective leagues, and fans management and owners shared in their achievement. Compare this to Jos Luhukay’s alleged policy of “changing his players in every game.” To me this does not make sense, if the team is playing well and without injuries it should be left unchanged. The top players are paid ludicrously high wages for three3 hours playing time a week if there are two matches and they remain on the pitch. Surely they should be fit enough to play for one or two games a week?
By all means give regular selections an occasional rest to recharge batteries, but in my opinion, for a team manager to have a policy of changes in every game is a ridiculous and unnecessary football approach. A team which is playing well should be left alone as much as possible - could this be a reason for Sheffield Wednesday’s current poor performances and lowly position in the Championship league?
Busk Meadow, Sheffield, S5