Wednesday ’til it dies?
Tuesday night’s match against Huddersfield turned out to be a pretty humiliating affair. Those who do not follow football seriously will not understand, but for those of us who do a defeat like this one hurts-bad. Sheffield Wednesday were alright in the first half and had some chances to score, but Huddersfield (or ‘udders’ as their fans seemed to call themselves-make of that what you will) scored an excellent first goal from a free kick which Darren Purse should not have given away and our heads went down. Another goal followed swiftly, and we were out of it: reduced to the long ball game and running around like panicking headless chickens. And this was the mighty Sheffield Wednesday against the ‘lowly’ Huddersfield Town. Outrageous.
The defeat followed a day when the main potential investor in a takeover bid pulled out, leaving the proposed investment package in tatters. We are two weeks away from yet another winding-up order, and there is a genuine fear that this will happen and we will be the first major football club in the land to cease to exist. At the very least it will mean going into administration and the resultant penalty of losing ten points: given our present showing this could mean relegation to League Two and further financial losses and even worse football, no ownership of our stately old ground and the sale of major players to make money for the administrators. Even the best scenario is appalling, and administration would be deeply unfair on those who have bankrolled us over the last decades and kept faith with us.
During our relegation season from the Premiership, a close friend sent me a home-made Christmas card with a photo of our then chairman, Dave Richards, with a beaming smile on his face as he contentedly ate fish and chips after a pre-season friendly against Blackpool, who were then languishing in the very lower leagues (look at them now). Blackpool had beaten a SWFC team containing Paulo de Canio, Benito Carbone and many other stars 2-0. Shortly after, Richards left the sinking ship for the higher echelons of the FA and great power in football and Wednesday began our inexorable slide into mediocrity and obscurity. With the exception of our present Chairman, the great Howard Wilkinson, and his predecessor Lee Stafford, I am not aware that any director has done anything to protect us or turn around the sinking ship. It is them I blame for this mess, and for the gross over-spending and borrowing during our Premiership years: after all, its better to be rubbing shoulders in the Board Room with the likes of Sven Goran Ericsson and Arsene Wenger than with some lower league nobody isn’t it? And if the way to make sure the Club stays in that company is to borrow and spend recklessly, then so be it.
I have suggested this to friends, who have largely ridiculed me, but I can see football in this country going the way of the banks. I believe that there is not one Premier League Club that isn’t massively in debt. Some, like Man Utd and Liverpool, are up to their eyes in it to the tune of many millions. It will only take one of those clubs, or maybe even Sheffield Wednesday, to collapse and the whole affair will come down like a pack of cards as investors and banks lose confidence in football and withdraw their support. All of this, for us, is just two weeks away and do we hear anything from the long-time Directors. No. Until then, I’m Wednesday ’til it dies.