Alex Miller: What Sheffield Wednesday could learn from the Cardiff Kings of 2005

In being a club in many ways hamstrung by the weight of its own history, Sheffield Wednesday are not alone.

By Alex Miller
Friday, 29th May 2020, 5:00 pm

Much is made of the weight of the shirt. The fanbase is expectant and the eyes of legends past plastered all over the walls of Hillsborough burrow deep. For the uninitiated, S6 can be a very lonely, revealing place.

It takes a certain kind of player to play for these clubs, especially one so long in the relative doldrums. Owls boss Garry Monk has spoken about the need for a change in culture at the club, the character of the dressing room in dire need of renovation.

Step back 15 years and the stories could not be more at odds with the current state of play. In Lee Bullen, now of course a central cog in the club’s coaching team and the captain of the side that secured playoff glory over Hartlepool in extra time at the Millennium Stadium, has too questioned the lack of bite on the modern-day roster.

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And talking to several members of the 2005 side over the past few weeks as The Star has endeavoured to deliver a nostalgic glance away from the world outside our window, it is Bullen that is mentioned time and again as the lynchpin of a rock-solid squad mindset.

But he was not alone. In youngsters Glenn Whelan and Chris Brunt they had shining talents that had stepped down from Premier League clubs on their way back up, in Steven MacLean a red-hot striker who had left Rangers. Craig Rocastle had been released from Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.

There were experienced pros well capable of handling the pressures of the Hillsborough crowd and players that had failed in previous moves. In one way or another, every one of the men assembled by Chris Turner and utilised to such good effect by Paul Sturrock were motivated, fired-up and had something to prove.

Hunger is a word Monk has used when discussing the profile of players he’d like to build a squad around. As Sheffield Wednesday head towards a revamp in the coming months, their 2005 model is one they would do well to revisit.

Lee Bullen and Jon-Paul McGovern arrived at Sheffield Wednesday with points to prove ahead of the ultimately successful 2004/05 season.

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Stay safe and take care. Thank you, Alex.