Take a deep breath… These extremes aren’t good for you, and the Sheffield Wednesday manager knows it too - Joe Crann’s column
Swinging from one extreme to another is no good for your mental health, and some Sheffield Wednesday fans could do with finding a middle ground for their head space.
“It’s what football is… It can soon trip you up. We don’t get carried away, and we don’t get too down.”
They were the words of Neil Thompson after the Owls’ humbling defeat to Millwall… He was talking about his players and his technical team, but there’s some wisdom in there for a lot of supporters as well.
After the win over Bournemouth, Wednesday were riding on the crest of a wave. They’d just beaten a promotion hopeful and got within touching distance of climbing out of the relegation zone. Things were looking promising, Wednesday are far too good to go down and who know, maybe there’s a Play-Off push on the cards.
Fast-forward a couple of days, and defeat to Millwall saw a plummet into the pits of despair and the seemingly foregone conclusion that Wednesday aren’t good enough to stay up, and they will most definitely be playing in League One next season.
Beat Wycombe Wanderers, and everything is coming up roses. The cycle starts again.
But the fact is, neither ends of the spectrum are factual yet. Do Wednesday have the players to stay in the Championship? Absolutely. Are they safe from relegation? Absolutely not.
But it’s not good for your mental space if you’re constantly shifting from one extreme to the next.
There’s a famous saying that I’ve quoted before, I think, that goes: “You're never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose.”
It’s a mantra that I know many managers and coaches try to instil in themselves and into the players that they work with, but I’d imagine it’s quite difficult to keep on track with it if – after losing two of your last eight league games – some unnamed egg on Twitter decides to tell you that you’re a waste of oxygen and wishes all sorts of nonsense upon you. It makes no sense.
Wednesday will win more matches before the season is out, and they will deserve to. They’ll also play badly and lose. It’s all just par for the course – especially given the wild nature of this season’s schedule that sees them play six more games in the next 20 days.
Granted, there’s the lack of clarity off the field that doesn’t help, but Thompson and his players are doing their best. You can’t praise their fight against Bournemouth and then question their commitment at Millwall, it doesn’t compute.
So for supporters, we need to take a leaf out of the manager’s book and try to remain grounded. This season will have ups and downs, many of them, and it really could go either way in terms of divisional status.
But you owe it to your own head space to try and maintain some order in your brain – there’s a long way to go yet, and a lot of points up for grabs.
So if Swansea win this weekend, don’t get too upset about it.