Chris Holt: Where's the fun gone? Time to see the smiles return to Sheffield Wednesday

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Remember those halcyon days...?

The days when Carlos had a dream and his hitherto unknown name bellowed loudly out of every Championship ground visited by Sheffield Wednesday fans.

When Ross Wallace, Fernando Forestieri and Barry Bannan and others were firing worldies into the top corner from all over the place.

When banter-fueled Forestieri momentarily had Wallace in a flap by pretending one of his goals had been disallowed. When Wallace pinched Huddersfield's tactics note and pretended to read it. When we chuckled at Carvalhal's analogies of flaming meat and orchestral performances.

When a palpable excitement adorned Hillsborough in the run up to games, with fans knowing they were likely to be in for a footballing feast. When everyone, absolutely everyone, was smiling.

When watching Sheffield Wednesday was fun.

It's hard to believe this was all only a short time ago, but the fun has all but gone and we all need it to return, quickly.

Watching Wednesday at the minute can too often be something of a chore. The free-flowing, attacking football; the devil-may-care attitude and the sense of sheer enjoyment that was displayed by those on the pitch and off it has all but dissipated. Replaced by a ponderous, ultra-pragmatic style of play that's painful, at times, to watch.

Yes, we get the odd spark, like in games against Nottingham Forest or Leeds or Aston Villa, and to their credit, when they are good, they are very, very good. However, these have become exceptions. You could probably count on one hand the number of times you've watched them this season and came out thinking 'I really enjoyed that'.

Sure, expectations have risen and as a result, so has the pressure but no one really seems to be able to cope with that.

Ross Wallace and Sheffield Wednesday team mates after his goal against Brighton

Ross Wallace and Sheffield Wednesday team mates after his goal against Brighton

Carvalhal isn't really coping. The players, despite the fact that many of them are hugely experienced footballers, aren't really coping with it and that's shown by the thick protective cloak that Carvalhal keeps throwing over them. The fans aren't even coping with it that well as a collective either, with there being a noticeable split as many struggle to get to grips with how good the team are supposed to be or how bad they are allowed to be.

A couple of weeks ago during a press conference I felt that Carvalhal came so close to admitting that reaching Wembley in his first season was the worst thing that could have happened.

He would never admit it, of course, but there was definitely a feeling - and it was only a personal hunch - that he believed the club achieved too much, too soon and a steadier rise would have been more beneficial to everyone.

Too late now and besides, that campaign gave anyone who was involved or followed it, memories to treasure.

Hillsborough lights up during the play-off semi final

Hillsborough lights up during the play-off semi final

The fact is, the bulk of that squad, that were an off-day away from reaching the dizzy heights of the Premier League, remain. Those days when they were surrounded by roaring crowds and beaming smiles instead of glum faces and echoing groans should still be fresh in their memories. The ability to play as they did during that first season under Carvalhal should also still be there.

The head coach has made a point - far too often - over the past number of weeks of the importance of positivity and fans getting behind the team. Of course he's right that players are more likely to respond to cheers than jeers, but the responsibility should not rest on the supporters, who continue to show up in huge numbers home and away while paying plenty for the privilege, to dig Wednesday out of this monotony.

Just as negativity won't offer much to someone on the pitch, it's not likely to motivate those sitting in the stands either. And negativity is what supporters are largely being offered currently.

The onus is on the players here. The fans have shown on many, many occasions that they will respond positively if they are given something to be positive about.

Things aren't going to plan at the minute but there's enough time to turn it around. The only people who can do that are the ones who run out onto the pitch. It's time that they showed they can handle this pressure. Time to put on a show, look like they're enjoying themselves and not like the weight of the world is on their shoulders.

In turn, bring the fun back to S6.

Smiles everywhere as Sheffield Wednesday players celebrate reaching the Play-Off Final

Smiles everywhere as Sheffield Wednesday players celebrate reaching the Play-Off Final

Sheffield Wednesday fans at Hillsborough

Sheffield Wednesday fans at Hillsborough