One Step At A Time
With the season fast approaching the predictions are already up for who will succeed this season and Wednesday are tipped to succeed, rightly so some people would say but let's think about it, writes Robin May.
Sheffield Wednesday is a name that is and hopefully always will be synonymous with a big successful football team and rightly so, because if you look through their records they have achieved at every level and I -like most fans - have a particular moment that stands out.
Wednesday have often come up with the goods and left an impression with all of us.
However, the Owls have once again dropped into the third tier of English football and, in my opinion, this has (unfortunately) been a long time coming - in recent years Wednesday's obsession with the drop zone has caused far too many relegation battles.
As Wednesday have failed to perform consistently for years one of the main things that represents our 'big club' status is our fan support, which frankly last season was tested at times and sadly the performances on the pitch towards the end of Brian Laws' reign were very poor.
At times we played under the illusion that we had the angel of the north up front which got us absolutely nowhere. So if this is the case could Wednesday be in bigger trouble than just their league or league position?
John Ryan, the Doncaster Rovers chairman, last season suggested that considering what Doncaster had achieved and the results they were getting in the league that perhaps the balance of power in Yorkshire was shifting.
Now when I first heard this I thought about it for a while and considering not just our performance last season but also those down the Lane, neither teams performed to the level that the fans expected and it cost us big time.
I don't have any figures for Doncaster's attendances but I know for a fact that Hillsborough is far bigger and still has more of an attraction to most players to come and play here.
When we fill the place and the team plays well, it equals most grounds in England and rightly so.
Unfortunately here lies the problem, I honestly believe we are still ahead of the likes of Doncaster but if Wednesday continue to perform poorly and attendances continue to dwindle it can only be a matter of time before we are in real trouble.
With the increasing debt and the loss of television revenue it is vital that Wednesday succeed in this division as every year the divisions seem to be getting tougher and we simply cannot afford to be out of the bigger leagues for too long.
Take Newcastle for example, they dropped down a league and bounced back at the first attempt, talk to most fans and they seem to regard the Championship as a joke, laughable compared to their quality.
Notice not a single one of them will mention that they also had a wage budget of nearly seventy million to spend, so what if they failed? The money would eventually dry out or leave and with poor performances even fans as loyal as Newcastle United, support would eventually decrease.
So here it is, I believe this is (hopefully) as low as Wednesday will be for a long time and we have a manager we can put our faith into and a team that would make me excited if they were playing in the Championship, let alone League One.
However,think about the signings, while they all have the quality and give us far more depth than we have seen for some time they are also mostly surplus at their previous clubs.
While their loss is our gain some of these players have not been part of a regular team for some time and let's not forget the age of most of these signings - some are approaching the end of their careers.
So with this in mind these players will have the full expectation on their shoulders of raising the club back up to the Championship at the first time of asking, which they are more than capable of but I just think we need to be realistic.
Wednesday may stumble at times this season and I predict we may be slow out of the blocks as Irvine gets his team to gel, but if the players turn up and the fans play the role of the 12th man I see no reason that we won't match the runners-up prediction that the pundits have given us, but the rot must stop here.