Lads, it’s not just about you anymore, there's a club at stake - Joe Crann’s Sheffield Wednesday column
Sheffield Wednesday probably shouldn’t still be in this relegation battle, but here we are…
How many times over the course of this season have they been handed a reprieve, or a chance to leapfrog an opponent. How many times have they let that opportunity pass by?
How many times have Wednesdayites – myself included – said, ‘Well that’s that then’. Only to find out that, somehow, it’s not.
Whatever has happened before though, it comes down to this weekend. The poor performances, the mistakes, the missed opportunities – so much will be forgiven if they somehow pull off what would be one of the greatest of great escapes the Championship has seen.
But it’s not just about them anymore. There are livelihoods on the line. I don’t think it’s overly dramatic to say that there is a football club at stake.
They’re not just playing for themselves this weekend. They’re playing for the staff that could lose their jobs on the back of a relegation, they’re playing for the fans out there who don’t want to see their club risk falling into the abyss. They’re potentially playing for the future of one of this country’s most historic football clubs.
Yes, there’s professional pride. We hear all the time about how players don’t want a relegation on their CV. And yeah, that should probably be enough to get them pumped up for a game like this.
Barry Bannan said recently that this game is bigger than Wembley in 2016, and I think he’s right.
They say that relegation from the Championship sees a club lose out on about £8 million. That’s bad enough at any point, but in the middle of a crippling global pandemic with no revenue in over a year, it’s potentially catastrophic.
Many things have led to the situation that we’re in now – and some of it hasn’t been on the field of play. Sheffield Wednesday needs a rebuild this summer, survival or not. A last day miracle won’t change that. So much has to change.
But for now it is about the football. It’s about those players – whoever Darren Moore chooses – giving absolutely everything they’ve got to get a result against Derby County.
The football gods have smiled on them time and time again, even when they probably didn’t deserve it. Now it’s up to them to step up to the plate.
Whatever happens between Rotherham United and Cardiff City is out of their hands, but these players giving every single bit of blood, sweat and tears at Pride Park should be the bare minimum that fans can expect.
Missed chances, a poor touch here and there, a misplaced cross – these can all, to some extent, be forgiven. But anything less than 100% effort is unacceptable – it’s owed to all the fans that continue to pay good money to watch a team that has given so very little to shout about this season.
Honestly lads, if you can’t get fired up for this game, then you’re in the wrong job.