Trump, angry tweets and smoky pubs: Alex Miller's Sheffield Wednesday column

Brexit, Trump, Cameron Dawson’s ability to keep a football out of the goal belonging to Sheffield Wednesday. The world gets really rather shouty when it comes to some of society’s major flash points.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 5:30 pm

The reaction of Wednesday supporters to a disappointing outing is under the spotlight after new boy Izzy Brown made clear his confusion after the Owls’ 2-1 defeat to title-chasing Brentford last night.

“Never understand some tweets after matches,” he typed. “We will bounce back at the weekend! Keep believing and supporting with positive energy.”

Let me insert a fairly weighty disclaimer here. It is far, far beyond the rights of any football writer to attempt to tell a money-paying fan how to support their club.

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It could be argued that it is beyond the right of any player, too.

But the fact is that Izzy Brown is not the first Wednesday player to have felt the need to make a request for heightened positivity – or more to the point calmness – from sections of a the Owls fanbase in recent weeks.

Kadeem Harris, Barry Bannan and most notably Moses Odubajo have all spoken out on what they feel is over-heated social media criticism, expressing the need for Sheffield Wednesday figures from boardroom to terrace to pull together in this most difficult of situations.

Knee-jerk frustrations once confined to smoky post-match boozers are now a matter of public record; exacerbated, reduced and whipped-up by extreme opinions one side and the other.

A photo taken on October 21, 2020 shows the logo of the the American online social media and social networking service, Facebook and Twitter on a computer screen in Lille. (Photo by Denis Charlet / AFP) (Photo by DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images)

Those conversations, once had while pushing around a beer mat before the flow of chatter inevitably drifted elsewhere, are now carried around in pockets all week, with happy chemicals sent to the brain of those whose take attracts the most responses.

Its a reality that encourages an exchange of the most extreme, provocative expression of views and is proving to be a problem for society far beyond the tiny corner of the internet reserved for Sheffield Wednesday.

“Social media has definitely changed the dynamic,” Garry Monk told The Star back in March when form and frustration around S6 was understandably at its most perilous.

“If we won every game this season, there would still be critics and people questioning certain things. That's just a way of the industry we are in and you have to be able to take that.

“Everyone wants to be negative right now and there is very rarely anything positive that is put towards you. It is abuse.”

Some months later, points deduction confirmed and after attempting to describe the possible ramifications of relegation for Wednesday this season, he intimated that passionate but calm-headed support was something the club needed to get out of the mess they’re in. Supporters, he encouraged, have to play their part.

“It’s a big, big season and that’s why we talk about needing the fans,” he said. “I know they’re not in the stadium right now but we need them right behind everything.

“Even when it gets tough and there are some bad results in there or bad performances or whatever it might be, we need calm in that support. It’s the bigger picture.”

Again, far be it beyond a football writer to tell anyone how to support their club. But there will be tougher days ahead than a narrow defeat to Brentford. What comes then?



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