As is often the case when things aren’t going too well at a football club, the accusation that those out on the pitch couldn’t care less gets thrown around.
I’ve read it quite a lot in recent weeks in responses on social media to me or other journalists or fans, that Sheffield Wednesday players ‘aren’t bothered’ whether they win or lose. That they ‘stroll around’ without a thought for the fans who have paid in to watch them and generally don’t give a stuff.
Admittedly sometimes when you watch a performance, you have to wonder.
However, sometimes it takes you to listen to a player and to see the looks on their faces, to understand that they are indeed hurt by disappointing results.
An example of this came last on Saturday after the defeat to Aston Villa.
I came out having listened to Jos Luhukay’s take on the 4-2 loss, hoping to get an opinion from a player which often isn’t easy in these circumstances, but I did so feeling some positivity from a Wednesday point of view.
Having only seen each of the goals they conceded in real-time, I hadn’t noticed the extent of the defensive frailties.
I felt that Wednesday had played well as a whole, particularly in the first half and that the scoreline had flattered Villa - and this isn’t even taking into account what in my opinion was frankly a very bizarre refereeing display by Neil Swarbrick.
With that in mind, I put it to Jack Hunt as he stopped to take questions: ‘you didn’t deserve that, did you?’ Hunt’s face painted a very different picture to that of one happy enough to accept a half decent display and the words were barely out of my mouth when he replied ‘yes, yes we did.’
The Owls defender was visibly angry and frustrated by the result and more so by the matter of it, in giving away cheap goals.
“We’ve conceded six goals in a week and no one has had to work hard for any of the goals,” he said.
Putting this type of thing down on a page means it’s often difficult to fully express the mood of the subject but rest assured Hunt was hurting,
As was Atdhe Nuhiu as he walked past. So, too, Adam Reach and these are only the ones I saw.
These players know Sheffield Wednesday shouldn’t be in a relegation fight and it bothers them immensely that that is the case because a fair number of them have experienced some incredible heights over the course of the past few years.
Even taking away the affinity they may have with the club, no one wants on their CV a relegation, not least with a sizable side like Sheffield Wednesday.
A lack of confidence is more likely to be the cause of a mannerism that suggests a carefree attitude. That’s understandable and shouldn’t be mistaken for players, under difficult circumstances, not being bothered.