Former Owls defender on how Sheffield Wednesday fans deserve better after Leeds United promotion
Sheffield Wednesday supporters deserve better.
That’s according to former Sheffield Wednesday centre-half Jon Newsome speaking to The Star in the days after another one of his clubs, Leeds United, were promoted to the Premier League as champions.
Newsome, a lifelong Wednesday supporter, said that there are similarities in the rebuilding job needed at S6 to the one undertaken at Elland Road.
While he accepts the talents of someone like Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa aren’t easy to secure, the club needs to make more of an effort to engage the supporters and improve the matchday experience at Hillsborough, whenever that may come around.
Couple that with a clear football vision, he said, and you’re onto a winner.
Newsome said: “The biggest thing is that they’ve got the place buzzing [at Leeds]. They’ve employed a bit of a genius in Bielsa and his way as a tactician and they’ve let him get on with it.
“And that’s what you’ve got to do. Football managers are the experts in the game, they know who they want and how they want to do it. They’ve given him free reign albeit on a slightly limited budget.
“There are huge similarities between the clubs, Sheffield Wednesday have been outside the top flight for 20 years, Leeds have been out for 16 years.
“You look back at Leeds’ Ken Bates days and Massimo Cellino, the club was really in the doldrums.
“So you’ve got to give credit to the owner, he’s come in and he had a clear vision.
“But you’ve got to connect with the supporters. That’s quite easy to do when you’re winning football matches, the difficult part of that is when you get disappointment.”
Owls boss Garry Monk has spoken a number of times about the need for squad transition at Wednesday.
What is vitally important, Newsome believes, is that all parties are on the same page in terms of recruitment as they have been at Leeds, where a small group including director of football Victor Orta assist Bielsa with football matters.
“The final say should always be the manager’s, that’s really important,” he said.
“Everything has to row in the same direction in terms of recruitment and everything else. Get that understanding and you’ve got half a chance.”
Though Newsome’s career affiliation with Leeds puts him in a unique position as a Wednesdayite, he appreciates the pain felt by supporters who have seen their two fiercest rivals taste promotion success in successive years.
“I feel really sorry for Sheffield Wednesday supporters,” he said. “They have been a punch bag over the last few years, it’s been blow after blow and it’s hard.
“It just seems to go from one bad turn to another at the moment. And that hurts. I’m a Sheffield Wednesday supporter and it does hurt.
“It’s testament that they still turn up in those numbers. They have done and they always will do because they’re proper supporters.
“I just feel sorry that they’ve been dealt with what they’ve had to deal with the last few years because they do not deserve it.”