Sheffield Wednesday - 'Unacceptable' But For How Long?
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'Unacceptable' But For How Long?

Sheffield Wednesday's performance at home to West Brom was branded unacceptable by Brian Laws, so how long before something changes?

It's not the first time that Laws has used this word to describe a Wednesday performance this season. The inept displays at Watford and Derby were deemed to be unacceptable too by Laws, who despite this has remained loyal to a large number of players involved in these games.

James O'Connor has received criticism during his Wednesday career. The midfielder's goalscoring contribution is minimal (only one goal in 53 appearances) and his 'all-action style' has been more 'headless chicken' in recent weeks.

Lewis Buxton at full-back looked shaky. A switch to centre-back in recent weeks saw him look more solid, but him and Richard Hinds were at fault yesterday.

Tommy Spurr isn't immune from criticism either. Just because he's one of our own doesn't mean he can put in below par performances and get away with it. However, a lack of alternatives at left-back could see Spurr keep his place.

Etienne Esajas, Sean McAllister and Mark Beevers have done little wrong under Laws. Yet they can't get a regular game. Is it a case of Laws sticking with his signings, or his favourites?

N.B: Buxton, Hinds and O'Connor were Laws' signings.

Esajas is without a doubt our most gifted footballer. A number of long-distance wonder strikes, and free-kicks will live long in many Owls fan's memories, but is his all-round contribution not good enough for Laws?

McAllister is a similar player to O'Connor. However, his goal threat is a lot more potent.

Mark Beevers' potential is undoubted, but the defender has struggled to hold down a place this season. Why?

Darren Purse was dropped after a disastrous start to his Wednesday career: perhaps it's time for him to prove his leadership qualities and prove to the fans that he is the sort of player we thought we'd signed.

The loan arrivals of Tom Soares and Warren Feeney means Laws has more options, but will he continue to keep the faith with the likes of Hinds, Buxton and O'Connor?

It's easy to pick out scapegoats, but Wednesday are on a bad run, and the fans becoming more and more irate. The likes of Buxton and O'Connor have been in the team all season. They have been involved in 'unacceptable performances' before. How can Laws play 'three strikes and you're out' with Purse, but give his pet cats of O'Connor and Buxton nine lives?

Wednesday need a win. Laws needs a win. Will a win come without changes?

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The Journalist

Writer: Jarno Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 30 2009

Time: 11:00AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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there may be trouble ahead.
Radon Barrier
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30/11/2009 11:14:00

potter is another for me shocking over the last few weeks
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30/11/2009 12:21:00

Good Article. I was as disappointed as any other fan from the wekend. Was pretty miserable as Wood scored on his debut for cov, united got a last min winner against Bristol and we of course got thumped 4-0. As far as I am aware we have a pretty decent record against west brom and despite our form i fancied a close game even if we lost. I think that a lot of people are gonna get on law's back now and if we lose to reading what then??? I would say this though. I understand that a lot of us our paying fans and we are allowed to voice an opinion but does anyone really know what goes on behind the scenes at Wednesday? who of you knows about the responsibilities of running a championship football club, the daily tasks of a football manager and the physiological impact of something as small as a media story that could affect an entire first team. I am not defending the players here but i would like to say that although picking a team seems a very simple thing to do once a week it is not as simple as that. I don't mean to be patronizing about this but given the current state of the club I dont think anyone in our clubs budget could do any better. Certainly not any of the fans! How do we know that the players who aren't playing have the appetite to play regularly. Maybe they are bad trainers. maybe there are other unknown reasons why the players we think should play aren't playing. The fact is , that as football is now more of a business than a game because of the money at stake its high pressure to succeed. I think laws needs a bit more support from the fans and the booing isn't gonna help on a Saturday.
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30/11/2009 12:23:00

The battle against relegation starts this Saturday I am afraid. We have shown in the last few games that we are a very poor side really. That said; I'm not one of those shouting for Laws to be sacked just yet. Lets give him to the end of December to try and turn things round - after all who could we bring in who could do better until there has been investment in the club? We have some very winable games coming up starting with Reading next Saturday. I do think though that we will be much closer to the relegation places than the play off places at the end of the season.
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30/11/2009 12:25:00

And Nick I agree - booing the side isn't helping.
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30/11/2009 12:27:00

For replies ot the above please send e-mail to Brian Laws care of Nick_Swift. Having said that, I think a great deal of what you say is 100% correct, but it naturally raises more questions than it answers. I have been a firm supporter of BL and I continue to have faith, but if your speculation is correct and some of our more gifted players are lacking commitment, then we have to ask who is repsonsible for motivation. Strafford says we should judge Laws on the last 12 months, well up until then we were making progress. Ever since he took over as chairman, we have had more hot air than ever and we seem ot have gone backwards on the pitch. Unfortunately, I am starting to believe that if BL has lost the ability ot get the players working together then maybe it is time for a change. If we are forced down this road it will be a crying shame. I still think that he is a good manger and he offered us reaql hope, but it seems to me that he is in an impossible position.
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30/11/2009 12:35:00

I have been an admirer of BL since hes been at wednesday, he has slowly but surely cemented us as a solid championship side. But lately i have been really disapointed by everything that has been going on at the club, i think signings have been poor and rushed into, performances have been well below par and results have been even worse. I hate to jump on the 'hate wagon' but i do feel that the longer we keep BL in charge we will keep on doing 'ok' which for me is unacceptable. Of course everybody would like to see S6 at the top of the league, which takes time, but i really did believe that we have had our best chance this season than any other. I'd like to see a new manager leading the team, who has proven experience of results and getting the best out of his players.
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30/11/2009 12:45:00

I think Laws has lost it completely as I keep saying and I am not the only one saying that. No I couldn't do a better job but Like the above comment I am very disapointed with whats been happeing at Hillsborough lately. I thought we were a cemented mid table maybe in chase for a play off place as this league can be very tight. But I am afraid from what I've seen under Laws this year its a relegation battle. And yes its not nice having boos but fans pay to come and watch this rubbish and they have a right to voice their opinion. Its professional football apparently and the players should know and certianly the manager that at the moment none of its good enough.
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30/11/2009 12:53:00

I don't really know what the answer is but I have seen a pattern over the years (not just in our club) where a manager comes in, does well then after a a year, 2 years results don't go his way for one reason or another and then the board make a management change. Not to mention the money it costs to pay off the manager, but what is the point of getting a new manager in if he is potentially only gonna give us the result we need for another year then we get on his back. Whose to say that Laws wont turn this round?? I think he needs more time but the real thing here is money. other clubs through money at the divisions when they need to change there results. It either works or it doesn't. I would like to see laws judged when he has a bit of money to spend in maybe January or even the summer. the risk is that we could go down, but until there is investment in our business we can attract players of the caliber of wood, brunt, whelan etc. we need to accept that if we don't go down this season it is a good season. we are a small club in terms of money to spend and thats all that matters. we need to pull together and count down the points we need to be safe this season. 50 I believe.
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30/11/2009 13:29:00

Here we go again. As a club we have a problem, our support is split on this issue. I first voiced my doubts as to BL when he signed Purse in the summer. These doubts grew all the time BL persisted with Purse (it was far more than three strikes, Nick, Purse has only played three decent games for us, not entirely his fault as BL threw him in when he was clearly not match fit). I think you may have hit on one of the problems though, BL clearly has favourites and is stubborn in his team selection. If things don't change soon we could be in real trouble. I will not call this belief a "Hate Wagon", I do not hate Brian Laws, I actually quite like the man and want him to succeed BUT I just don't think Brian Laws is up to the job. Our financial situation makes things difficult yes but are we the only club on a tight budget? Our chairman wanted 16000 season tickets sold, he got 14,500. Not great but that's 2000 more than the previous season. That's a positive that we should take and build on. I won't join in the unfair attacks on Mr Strafford, I believe he is trying to take the club forward under very difficult circumstances. If the team were performing better there wouldn't be a problem. That's the nub of the problem, the team. Do you honestly think that Brian Laws is the man to take us further? Or has he taken us as far as he can? Questions and a viewpoint is all I can offer. Our chairman is the man who has to answer them, he may soon be faced with making a very difficult decision. The chairman has tried to forge a team ethic between himself and his manager. Sometimes you have to be ruthless to succeed. Is Mr Strafford ruthless enough? We may find out soon.
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30/11/2009 13:40:00

I'm sorry but I can't agree with anyone who thinks that Laws is the man to take us forward. He brought some stability in difficult times but nothing else. The fact is that this team is getting worse, not better. Yes, he lost some players but we did ok without them last season, even if we didn't set the division on fire (Brunt, Whelan, Magic and anyone else you want to name). The players he has bought have all been questionable to say the least. He himself was saying how much he was looking forward to this season and his confidence in it being a good year. Do you think this is what he meant? I recall him comparing us to Burnley in terms of having a small squad and a limited wage kitty but using them as the example of what was possible. I have no idea what benefit there is to waiting for some kind of change to come from BL because even if we get better and avoid the drop - what then? Is he really going to build a stronger team after that? Personally, I think his buys and team selection have been shocking and after the way he seems to have wasted what little money we do have, I wouldn't give any more to him even if the investment did come in. He's done it his way long enough and it isn't working. I do agree that this team is better than its league position but we need a manager to get the players playing again. I like BL the man but nothing else.
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30/11/2009 14:06:00

Anyone who is waiting for Laws to be sacked, has got a long wait. We cannot afford to sack him, we would have to pay up his contract. Anyway, who would we go for, it would have to be someone who is prepared to work for less wages. This rules out anyone who has ever worked in the top two divisions.
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30/11/2009 14:55:00

SEAN MacAULEY doitforlove Sean MacAuley, has managed our club in this division, has succeeded, and is at Wednesday now!
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30/11/2009 15:20:00

does being caretaker for less than a handfull of games count as succeeding at Championship level??!
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30/11/2009 15:38:00

Four games played, three wins, one draw (all without extra cash or new players), that and Laws had to call for MacAuley's assistance last time he was struggling. Give him the job on a caretaker basis and see how he does. Chris Hughton was caretaker at Newcastle for ages and managed to succeed where more illustrious names failed. If we are short of cash don't discount the obvious answer. People are calling for Darren Ferguson but he has only managed a few more games at this level than Mac and far less successfully.
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30/11/2009 16:54:00

Good article, and I have to say gentlemen, excellent comments. A level of discussion that's a cut about other forums I could name.
Auckland Owl
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30/11/2009 19:44:00

you are playing and failing just like many people predicted before the season.. and probably placed a little bit higher in terms of league position than most thought. you lot need a reality pill... cemented mid table (chasing playoffs..your having a right old laugh yeh)??... you lot think you are much better than what you are and are totally deluded. your expecting mirracles. nothing is going to happen especially with the huge debt owed and a micky mouse chairman thats looking for investment that he gives a 2m (3 year deal) shirt sponsor away) lovely gesure but from \a businees point of view totally mental. just think that could have been 2m quid to bring in the players you want over 2-3 years.
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30/11/2009 21:27:00

Looks like you spoke to soon Auckland! A few of the posters don't seem to post on the forum, be great to get some more debate on there lads.
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30/11/2009 22:41:00

Oh and Sheff Utd are son wonderful......go back to your'e own site and mess around in the mud.
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30/11/2009 22:46:00

Yes indeed Ash, I spoke too soon.. bfl has been behaving decently well of late, but reverts to type and spouts tosh by inventing a cash figure above and beyond the real value of our shirt sponsorship. He must have escaped from the canvas jacket with the long sleeves and had just enough time to type that before they carried him off back to the Bryan Robson Memorial Rest Home for the Terminally Bewildered.
Auckland Owl
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01/12/2009 00:37:00

On a different note, we keep talking about signings and that leads me to my point! I live in Australia and I can name 3 young lads playing in the A League that would do good at a club like Wednesday under Sean McCauleys guidance! I thought we had a feeder club in Australia through Adam Poric (not to mention others around the world!) yet nothing comes from them?? There is Tommy Oar (Brisbane Roar) Kaz Patafta and Ben Kantarovski (Newcastle Jets) all of whom are 17-20! We could've got these guys in for free no doubt and half the wages people like Purse, Miller et al would demand! Rant over! Also, I think Laws should go and be replaced by Copell!
Owls That!
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01/12/2009 08:19:00

Well that all sounds good but dont we need a work permit for players outside of the EU. no way are you gonna get that for these young players unless I am wrong. I suppose we could get them on a working visa but not sure whether that applies to football? Fact is we can get rid of laws. we cant afford it and it would further destabilize the club. We should think more about this at the end of the season. If he hasn't delivered then the chairman needs to make a decision but changing manager now and giving him nothing to spend will surely relegate us. Steve Copell? umm still brings back bad memories of Reading beating us 6-0 at their place. I didnt even pay for those tickets and I think Wednesday paid me back in unkind that night:) Not too sure whether we could afford copell. Also, why would he come to Wednesday. Reading have always had investment
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01/12/2009 09:41:00

Some good points Nick_swfc but if we look like going down will you still want to see out Laws contract? Did he sign a three year contract because if that's the case, there can't be much of it left to pay off. If money is a problem then Steve Coppell isn't an option, shame because he's very good at finding young, quality players for next to nothing.
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01/12/2009 11:17:00

Not 100% sure on whether he signed a new contract or not. He signed a contract in2006 and would only have been max three years but that cant be right as he would be in contract talks at the mo so I suspect he has signed an extension since then. Cant really remember. I think if he has not singed an extension then the chairman will see how he does this season and end it if we go down so we would not have him for any longer after that although lets hope we dont go down. I would like to see Modest get a few games up front. I know he is young but he is meant to have a lot of potential and he is very quick apparently.
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01/12/2009 13:58:00

Its been unacceptable for the past ten years! Why the fuss now?
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01/12/2009 16:10:00

Because we have for the last five or so years experienced a slow, occasionally shakey, but steady improvement in the club's fortunes on the pitch BUT since BL's first season it can only be said that we have consolidated our position in the division, not advanced. Now we are moving backwards. Do we really want to swap divisions with Leeds?
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01/12/2009 16:53:00

funny you lot are wanting coppel especially when he came out as the front runner in our poll a few weeks ago that fans would want to replace blackwell.
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01/12/2009 19:08:00

Well he is a good manager BFL, of that there is no denying. Though he hasn't made the transition to great manager. Not that I think Wednesday would be in with a shot. We just don't have the cash.
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01/12/2009 19:15:00

I agree with robc, over the past 4-5 years we have been very slowly improving season to season, which i think all s6 fans could hope for to secure us as a championship side. going into this season i think every fan felt was the time to really push for the playoffs which now looks very very unlikely and i dont think BL can deliver that to the fans and players. who could come in to replace BL, i dont know?! but an experienced and proven manager would get my vote who can deliver what every fan wants to see, after what looks to be another poor season. Blades for life, seriously give yourself a massive shake, you must have no life at all coming onto your rivals site to check for news, jesus christ, does it get any lower???!!!
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02/12/2009 13:06:00

All good points with exception of the trotter. But we have to think over the past ten years we have gone from manager to manager and got no where fast, yes this season is poor and yes the players heads are down but all hype from our chairman about buy outs etc and yet nothing happens i think we need to look at the overall running of the club. We had one of the lowest budgets last season and mid table finish we all want top flight football but it is a long way off without investment.
bodsy owl
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02/12/2009 14:49:00

The unacceptable performances are happening too often now for my liking which is a concern, once or twice a season maybe! I'm slightly concerned Laws has done as much as he can although I doubt there's anybody out there who can come in and do any better. Saturday was appalling yet the week before we battled well to earn a point, like me Laws must be pulling his hair out with this lot.
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02/12/2009 14:55:00

If Laws is pulling his hair out he's only got himself to blame. We aren't the strongest team in this league but we should be better than this with the players we've got, aside from most of the dodgy ones Laws has brought in lately. Is this team really any better than the team we had when Sturrock was sacked? Not for me.
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02/12/2009 19:06:00

bodsy owl has it spot on. We are not really any worse off this season to the last three - but we expect more because the optimism has been talked up. We have the 6th lowest wages in the league and we are 6th lowest in the league. We have probably the lowest budget for bringing in new players. At least we're not in the position of Watford, Cardiff or Portsmouth. We should all keep calm and carry on - get behind the team we have and not boo them on the field.
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04/12/2009 15:12:00


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