"Owners make such a difference.." Neil Warnock takes no pleasure in the 'sad' situation at Sheffield Wednesday
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock said he takes no pleasure in seeing Sheffield Wednesday in a relegation scrap.
The lifelong Sheffield United fan and former Blades boss spoke ahead of Boro’s welcoming of the Owls for a match Wednesday must win to stay in with a realistic chance of Championship survival.
Warnock had joked after his side’s win over Wednesday’s fellow relegation rivals Rotherham that he would have his players trying ‘twice as hard’ in tomorrow’s clash.
Owls defender Liam Palmer suggested the quotes would act as added motivation for his side, though Warnock claimed his words were misunderstood.
“It’s just another game for us and we want to finish as high as we can,” he said. “If Sheffield Wednesday fans were watching the other night, they couldn’t say I wasn’t trying against my old club Rotherham, because I did.
“We’ll be trying exactly the same to help Rotherham tomorrow.”
The 72-year-old, who nearly took over at Hillsborough in the days of Milan Mandaric, was asked if on some level the Blades fan in him is enjoying seeing Wednesday’s plight.
With a stony face he batted the question back and suggested Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri has blame to shoulder for the club’s struggles.
“No, not really,” he said. “I think it’s sad if I’m honest.
“When I was a kid, Wednesday was the massive club in Sheffield, they were the Man United and we were the peasants, that was the way all the way through.
“It’s sad to see them in a situation like this. Unfortunately as we’ve seen over the week regarding the Premier League and the big six, owners make such a difference at a club. It’s not been easy for Sheffield Wednesday fans for I don’t know how many years.
“It’s hard for fans at any club because they haven’t really got much of a say, all they can do is support their team really and they’ve always done that.
“It’s always been a fabulous club and you don’t want to see them in that situation,” he went on. “You might say as a Unitedite you thrive on it, but I’d rather have two Sheffield derbies to look forward to.
“It’s not great to see the situation they’re in now. The points deduction did them at the start, really.”
Though Warnock has always resisted the notion of retirement, it could reasonably be argued that a Wednesday relegation could mean this weekend’s clash is the last battle between the former Blades boss and the Owls.
“It’s always the game I look forward to,” he said. “It’s the one I look for in the calendar.
“I’m just disappointed there are no fans in because obviously the Wednesday fans always give me a rousing applause.
“One of the best days is when I rock up at Hillsborough and I have to walk the gauntlet of about 30 or 40 yards to the dressing room from the bus!
“They’re always brilliant, the Wednesday fans, I do love that. And that’s what you’re in the game for.”