Alex Miller's Sheffield Wednesday column: It's too easy to call that result the nature of the Championship - this season is a rare opportunity for the Owls
It happens every week. Another coupon-busting result makes its way down the wires and a nation shrugs its shoulders; “Well,” we say, “that’s the Championship for you.”
It happened while the warm-ups of Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers took place at Hillsborough yesterday. QPR, one of the division’s most unpredictable sides, turned over title-chasing Leeds United.
Smiles wide, eyes fixed on the concourse television screens, plastic pint pots were raised at yet another example of why it ours that is perhaps the greatest league in European football.
And while that may well be the case, it should not be held up as some sort of reason for Sheffield Wednesday’s 5-0 capitulation. While Garry Monk fronted up and took responsibility for the defeat, pundits and supporters everywhere will shrug once more.
The fact is that the Bradley Dack-less Lancashire side arrived six without a win having conceded seven in their last four. It was a game a play-off hunting side should win and win well.
Wednesday have been an odd team to follow this season; the euphoria of a third-place Christmas drained by three defeats in a week, the slaying of Brighton and Leeds quashed by Blackburn humiliation. The manager speaks of the importance of not getting too high or too low throughout the season, but he must admit that these are soaring summits and disturbing depths.
And that’s the frustration; that when they are good, they are very, very good. Boro, Forest and Leeds away were the sort of performances that so rarely feature in the same campaign.
The sinking feeling is that this season presents a rare opportunity for three lucky Championship sides. It may well be that West Brom go on to win the title at a canter, but while Leeds stutter and the chasing pack are left awkwardly holding the door open for one another, it is all the more galling for this Wednesday side that it is just a modicum of consistency that will secure a play-off place.
The Owls are 10th and have as much chance as anyone of grabbing one of those spots. But they need to buck the trend. “That’s the Championship for you” just won’t do.