"It's people's livelihoods": Fans must help Sheffield Wednesday avoid the unthinkable, says Garry Monk

Livelihoods will be lost if Sheffield Wednesday are relegated from the Championship.

By Alex Miller
Friday, 18th September 2020, 6:00 am

That was the cold matter of fact delivered by Owls boss Garry Monk yesterday as he tried to convey the importance of the next few months to a professional football club busy battling to overcome a 12-point deduction and – first of all – secure their place in the Championship.

Monk beat a nine-point deduction to survive relegation from the Championship in the 2018/19 season alongside Owls staff members James Beattie and Darryl Flahavan.

That experience, he said, will be vital as the club continue a mission that started with an impressive 2-0 opening day win at Cardiff City.

Sheffield Wednesday need their fans right alongside them as they battle against a 12-point deduction this season, says Garry Monk. Pic Steve Ellis

The 41-year-old admitted that relegation is an outcome that could stand to change a club of Sheffield Wednesday’s size forever and his team need the full backing of its vast fanbase throughout the good and bad times this campaign.

On his Birmingham experience, Monk said: “It’s good to understand that and put it into your way of working. That’s important.

“It’s the experience of knowing the ramifications for a football club if it doesn’t work out. They’re huge. It’s more than some people realise.

“If a club gets relegated to League One, the ramifications on those clubs are huge. People don’t even realise, financially and especially in this climate we’re in now. It’s huge.”

Staff behind the scenes were let go the last time Wednesday were relegated to League One and it’s a responsibility the manager has put across to his players and staff throughout the past few weeks.

The Owls engaged in a huddle on the pitch after last week’s win in Wales in a show of unity designed in part to get the club’s fans on board. And despite supporters not being allowed into the ground just yet, Monk reiterated the have a huge role they will to play in the coming season.

“The responsibility of that I know very well and to make everyone aware of how serious that is is important, it’s a huge season,” he said.

“We want more, but we have to do it stage by stage. To try to clear these 12 points and to get to that safety mark, that is the most critical moment to achieve. Of course we want to achieve it early so we can go beyond that.

“The reality is, and everyone should realise this, that the ramifications of relegation from the Championship are huge on the club, it’s people losing their livelihoods.

“We’ve seen it before at other big clubs, the club can change forever, so knowing that and having experience of that situation, is key, putting that across to players. Not in a way that they’re fearful, but in a way that can galvanise them. That’s what we’ve tried to do.

“It’s a big, big season and that’s why we talk about needing the fans. I know they’re not in the stadium right now but we need them right behind everything.

“Even when it gets tough and there are some bad results in there or bad performances or whatever it might be, we need calm in that support. It’s the bigger picture. We need to look after that and fight for that and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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