A shambolic performance from start to finish...the story of Sheffield Wednesday 0 Blackburn Rovers 5
The prospect of Wednesdayites dipping into their pockets to snap up 10-year season tickets looks even more remote after the team's inexcusable capitulation to Blackburn Rovers.
Saturday's 5-0 Hillsborough drubbing was one of the worst performances I have ever witnessed in all my years of covering the Owls.
It was a lifeless display that lacked ideas, passion, commitment, leadership and pride.
No one could blame supporters for leaving in their droves at half-time after Lewis Holtby notched his second of the afternoon and Rovers third.
Hoardes of fans then walked out and headed to the exit door after Darragh Lenihan added a fourth just after the interval. Sam Gallagher bagged a fifth in added on time to inflict the heaviest home defeat on the Owls since 2001.
Their dreadful showing was less than 72 hours after the club launched its innovative but expensive 10-year season ticket scheme. Given Wednesday have now lost three on the bounce in their own backyard and attendances continue to dwindle, the initiative appears an even tougher sell.
A furious Garry Monk pulled no punches post-match, describing their home humbling as “unacceptable” and he apologised to supporters.
But it has to be said that the Owls were not helped by a diabolical refereeing decision.
Rookie Championship referee Jarred Gillett controversially sent off Massimo Luongo in the 23 minute after a clumsy challenge on Lewis Travis. Australian official Gillett, who was only taking charge of his 15th second-tier fixture since joining the Select Group 2 referees this season, felt Luongo caught Travis late and stamped on the Rovers midfielder.
The tackle did not warrant more than a yellow card, but Gillett saw things differently and his decision changed the complexion of the contest.
Yet, to Monk's credit, he refused to use Luongo's red card as an excuse. Even with 11 men, Wednesday had been second best and trailed after a well-taken goal by Holtby.
It was a shambolic performance from the Owls from start to finish. Defensively they were all over the place, the midfield was non existent and the hosts had no "out ball" up front.
Blackburn earned the right to play and dominated from the word go.
"I take full responsibility," said Monk. "But I have to stay balanced, even when you feel emotional, and understand there is football to played and work to be done."
Fair play to Monk and midfielder Adam Reach for fronting up and facing the media after a chastening experience.
As the manager, Monk will come in for plenty of criticism over his team selection and tactics over the coming days. Playing one up front at home did not work and Monk left it too late to freshen things up. He should have brought on Atdhe Nuhiu and Sam Hutchinson sooner than he did.
Although Monk's tactics will come under the spotlight, his players let him and the fans down badly. Wednesday made an ordinary Blackburn team that had gone six without a win look like Liverpool and Manchester City at times. After Luongo's dismissal, the hosts waved the white flag and mentally folded.
Why are the Owls such a Jekyll and Hyde side? How can they go from beating promotion hopefuls Leeds one week to then producing a dire performance in front of their own fans seven days later?
Is it complacency? Does this group think they are better than they actually are?
Monk has vowed to instill a winning mentality and he will have learned a lot about the character of his squad after the Blackburn debacle.
His players need to take a good long hard look at themselves in the mirror and show some fight.