Not the time to rip it up and start again at Sheffield Wednesday

A shattering end to the season cannot be allowed to become literally that if Sheffield Wednesday are to attack the future with renewed belief.

By Alan Biggs
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 11:45 am

You can pick up the pieces providing they are not smashed and scattered in all directions.

Hearts may be broken in the moment - that’s football - but, to use Darren Moore’s recent analogy, this is not a broken squad.

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A dejected George Byers after Sheffield Wednesday lost their play-off semi-final to Sunderland. Picture: Steve Ellis

It is only broken in the sense that, with so many short contracts and loans, many players are in limbo. The fixing is in keeping it together and skipper Barry Bannan’s declaration about staying is a powerful clarion call to the rest.

Moore talked of the start of a “healing” process in the wake of the gut-wrenching play-off semi-final defeat to Sunderland that silenced a buoyant and booming Hillsborough.

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For Wednesday to come back to full health they have to build on the progress made and not dismantle it.

Too often amid the short-termism of modern football, clubs react to perceived failure by ripping everything up and starting again.

Is it failure that the Owls have fallen short of promotion? Well, yes and no.

The squad should have been good enough for top two, even in an ultra-competitive League One - and the players would admit as much.

In that, the manager takes his share of responsibility. No-one can pretend that missing out is not a grievous blow or that Moore’s men did enough to overcome Sunderland.

They should and would have prevailed but for lapses for the goals they conceded in both legs. Against that, they deserved to edge level at Hillsborough and there seemed to be only one winner until Sunderland’s two brightest sparks brought the place to its knees.

As to the future, there are many players who would be wanted elsewhere.

Whether Wednesday can keep the bulk of this squad together is a financial equation that only a hard-pressed owner can answer.

If they could, you would be looking at automatic promotion in my opinion. Allowing that a bit of freshening - particularly bringing down an average age that is creeping up again - is required in recruitment.

But it’s more than a start that the inspirational and unfortunate Bannan remains committed. Powerful in persuasion..

Mainly, it’s about not overreacting - as the majority of supporters haven’t.

Big clubs rarely escape League One at the first attempt. After four years - and heaven forbid it takes so long here - it may be Sunderland’s turn.