Drama? What Drama? - Joe Crann’s Sheffield Wednesday column

Maybe things are changing at Sheffield Wednesday – because under Darren Moore there’s been notably less drama. And that should be welcomed.

Sunday, 26th December 2021, 8:34 pm

Even though this season hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations of some people on the field, one aspect of Moore’s reign that has to be praised is the way that he seems to have got the house in order at Hillsborough.

Rarely, of late, have things seemed so calm at the club. And – fingers crossed, anyway – it looks like the Owls are going to make it through the festive period without some sort of an implosion.

Rewind a year and Wednesday were on a nine-game winless run in the Championship, hurtling towards relegation and were just a couple of days away from parting ways with Tony Pulis after a dismal spell in charge.

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Yearly drama in December is a staple at Wednesday. Obviously there’s no football being played this year due to the huge Covid-19 disruptions that have been caused around the country – but the Owls are far from being the only ones affected by that.

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Cast your eyes back to December 2019 and there were developing rumours of unpaid players in the camp, and a Boxing Day collapse against Stoke City sparked one of the most rapid declines you could imagine.

Head to 2018 and around this time Lee Bullen had just taken over from Jos Luhukay – who was fired four days before Christmas – following a defeat away at Swansea City, and the hunt for a new manager began before presents were even under the tree.

Darren Moore has managed to steady the ship at Sheffield Wednesday after a tumultuous few years.

Remember 2017? Wednesday lost to Norwich, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Middlesbrough - and then Carlos Carvalhal was fired on Christmas Eve. The Portuguese manager followed in the footsteps of Owls legend, Derek Dooley, who faced the same fate back in 1973.

In fact, you have to go back to 2016 to find the last good December for the Owls – and it happened to be the last time a manager started and finished a full campaign at the club. It was also the last time they finished in a respectable league position.

So maybe that’s a good omen?

Too often has the festive period been one to dread for Wednesdayites, and the current boss has brought a level of stability that few would have imagined possible 12 months ago.

Moore may not deliver headline after headline in his interviews and he may not rant and rave the way that some fans would like to see, but he’s helped the club turn a much-needed corner in terms of getting back on track. The club’s 12-game unbeaten run suggests a turnaround on the field as well.

Am I tempting fate a little bit given that there’s still a game – hopefully – left to play before the year is out? Maybe. But Wednesday genuinely feel like a different club now, and even a bad defeat against Sunderland wouldn’t lead to the sort of carnage we’ve gotten used to in recent years.

So while it’s sad that there’s no Boxing Day game this year (for the first time since 2010), we can all sit back and enjoy our mince pies and a few beers safe in the knowledge that there’ll be no ‘Club Statement’ notification this year.