Alan Biggs: Sheffield Wednesday's recruitment team have done more than help sign 13 new players this summer

David Downes and Dean Hughes. Two names hardly conspicuous in the affairs of Sheffield Wednesday but hugely important all the same

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 12:13 pm
Owls boss Darren Moore Pic Steve Ellis

A well-deserved nod here to Darren Moore’s recruitment team and it extends far beyond the impressive array of signings made this summer.

Because together, Downes (head of recruitment) and Hughes (recruitment analyst) represent a rare thread of continuity amid the large-scale disruption of recent years.

Backroom staff tend to follow managers around. Both men worked with Steve Bruce at Aston Villa; Hughes also at Hull City.

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So, considering that Bruce flitted his fleeting tenure at Hillsborough under a huge cloud in July 2019, it is remarkable that the recruitment guys HE recruited are still at the club.

More than two years on, they have been at the centre of a drive that has netted an astonishing 13 new players this summer.

Time will tell on the success or otherwise of this. Nobody can pre-judge it for fear of tempting those many fickle fates in football - including form, fitness, feeling at home and run of the ball.

You can only make a signing that looks and feels right at the time. Later events don’t necessarily make that judgment wrong, although very few will support that theory in practice.

What does hold true is that old saying of not throwing the baby out with the bath water.

While the angst and anger surrounding Bruce’s departure for Newcastle was understandable - it was the manner and handling of it rather than the fact of it that rankled - the legacy of his short reign can’t be overlooked.

Beyond netting several million pounds in personal compensation, Bruce set up a transfer operation that appears to have been given its head more than in both his short time and the ill-fated reign of Garry Monk.

In that regard, relegation, while unwelcome, provided the opportunity of a reset that could bring longer-term benefits.

The lower a club sinks, the more real deep-rooted professional knowledge comes to the fore.

Players are not so identifiable for League One than in the Premier League-aspiring world of the Championship.

In addition, the ramifications of Brexit have narrowed the focus to the home market.

Of course, previous windows have drawn applause, so results on the field are the only yardstick.

But it does feel that Wednesday have focused in the right areas and if that brings rewards then Downes and Hughes must take their share of credit.