Alan Biggs' Sheffield Wednesday Column: Why I'm giving Owls almost as good a chance as anyone to win promotion to the Premier League next season
Maybe it’s the wrong thing to say, but looking down the card for the new Championship season one thing struck me - it doesn’t look THAT formidable. For a change.
Which is not to say it won’t prove to be for Sheffield Wednesday at this transitional time.
But when you search for fixture cherries there are not too many to pick. Leeds home and away, of course...Derby and Forest always have a certain profile... but generally a much of a muchness.
Underwhelming is the word that springs to mind.
Without tempting fate, there are no stand-out teams to fear, fixtures to dread. Of course, we don’t know how they will all equip themselves with new players as yet, but maybe this is an opportune time for the Owls - providing they get their own house in order.
How the financial manoeuvres in the background affect things is the key question. A raising of share capital is the main headline - but the absolute imperative in my opinion is that, whether it’s £21m (as suggested) or £210m, the club has to start operating a balance on trading to prevent a repeat of problems.
As things stand, you detect a stagnation in the market when it comes to big-paying fees and transfers. While this doesn’t help Wednesday level the finances, it does even the playing field in other respects.
The Championship, normally packed with big ambitious outfits thrusting for the Premier League, just looks very different this year.
For starters, there’s no Aston Villa, or Norwich City, also promoted. Or Sheffield United come to that.
The names of the teams who have dropped to replace them - Fulham, Cardiff and Huddersfield - don’t strike fear, albeit that they will have an unfair financial advantage.
And the identity of the teams coming up from League One could not appear less ominous - Luton, Barnsley and Charlton.
Ok, a smaller club in Rotherham slipped out of the section but then so did a couple of traditional bigger ones in Bolton and Ipswich.
All in all, it’s harder to call than usual. Everything up for grabs and nothing would really surprise you in terms of promotion and relegation.
You’d have to give Wednesday almost as good a chance as anyone if they get their signings, sales - and sums - right.