Joe Crann: The uncertainty of it all is draining for Sheffield Wednesday fans...
“I don’t know, we’ll see. I haven’t heard anything from the club. I think we’re all a bit tired of the same question - you asking it and me answering it. We’ll see.” – That was Garry Monk’s latest response to a question about Sheffield Wednesday’s case against the English Football League, and he’s right.
It’s the uncertainty of it all that’s the killer. How many points do the Owls need to stay up? What could the points deduction be? When will they know? What sort of budget are they looking at for next season? Which players will still be around? What league will they be in? Right now the answer to all of these is – ‘We don’t know’. And that’s not healthy.
Things have been rough at Hillsborough over the course of 2020 so far. The statistics speak for themselves really. Five wins in 20 games in all competitions since the turn of the year, one home win in the last 11, and only Hull City have picked up less points than the Owls since Boxing Day (13), back when an automatic promotion push seemed to be on the cards.
Monk has rightly said that he and the players have been trying to focus on the things that they can control – the EFL charge not being one of them – and I get the idea of them insisting that the situation hasn’t played a role in their form, but there’s surely got to be an aspect of it playing on the minds of everyone at the club.
The fact that there is so much uncertainty around everything has to play a part in the psyche of some, even if it’s not for all, and I think that’s why so many Wednesdayites just want an end to it now. Kind of a ‘Come what may’ situation after months and months of this dragging on and hanging over the club. They’re angry, frustrated, and possibly even worse, they’re losing interest.
What is for certain now is that this current crop of players need to show some bite, some anger, some frustration on the field. There are 12 points up for grabs, and Wednesday could well need all of them to stay up depending on the ruling. Or none of them. And therein lies the problem.
A decent run of games against Queens Park Rangers, Huddersfield Town, Fulham and Middlesbrough could be the difference between the Championship or League One next season, or they could possibly mean nothing at all. But you have to plan for the worst in order to guarantee survival. And it’s definitely about survival now.
These next four games aren’t about top performances and highlight reels. They’re about getting as many points on the board as physically possible to give SWFC the best chance of surviving one of the toughest periods in recent memory.
And a word from the independent disciplinary commission, the EFL or even the club on what lies ahead wouldn’t go amiss either…