Alan Biggs: There will always be pressure for Sheffield Wednesday in League One...
Much has been made of Sheffield Wednesday having a more youthful, athletic squad and it was sorely needed...
But it should prove even more significant that the squad is absolutely stacked with higher level experience by League One standards.
Certainly, it puts a limit on excuses after two away defeats, even if none are being sought.
A comparison with Wednesday’s last two promotions from this level also highlights this quite graphically.
Back in 2005, under Paul Sturrock via Chris Turner, the Owls had only five players who had performed in the division above.
In 2012, with the team Dave Jones inherited from Gary Megson, there were eleven players in that category.
This 2021 squad, assembled by Darren Moore, has no fewer than sixteen.
It is a telling measure of the strategic thoroughness of this summer’s remarkable recruitment drive and also of the club’s ability to pull in players who have effectively agreed to drop a division.
And while 2012 appears to offer a closer comparison, I think there is more of a parallel with 2004-05 in the way the squad has been revamped.
Where Turner, sacked after a poor start with a new team, wasn’t around to take his share of the credit for the 2005 promotion, let’s hope Moore gets his reward for all that reassembly work.
What’s noticeable in both cases is that it’s difficult to hit full throttle early in a season amid so many changes and while numerous players are being integrated.
Turner, whose array of signings ultimately served the club brilliantly and made money for it (Chris Brunt, Glenn Whelan etc), would undoubtedly have got more time but for the spectre of Ken Bates, lurking in the background with an aggressive takeover bid that it took Sturrock’s success with those same players to defeat.
There is less political pressure this time. Owner Dejphon Chansiri has calmed his critics with a bold re-commitment to the club and the relationship between chairman and manager looks sturdy enough to withstand bumps in the road.
That said, there will always be pressure for a club of this size in the third tier and rightly so with this calibre of squad.