OWLS ABOUT THAT, THEN?
There is a cap-sleeved, Air Max-ed contingent of 90s nostalgists who yearn for an ideal Premier League – Premiership, if you will – in which certain proud provincial clubs are magicked back into a top division of 20. Or should it be 22? Sorry, Bournemouth and Brentford. Your place is the old Division Two. Apologies, Brighton hipsters. Get thee back to the Goldstone Ground and Skint Records sponsorship; we wanna get loaded and we wanna have a good time. So who comes in? Leeds, of chuffin’ course, and Nottingham Forest have been welcomed back with open arms and memories of Frank Clark’s drooping moustache and Paul McGregor’s Kula Shaker vibes.
Who else? There simply has to be a place for Sheffield Wednesday, the club of Tango Man, Graham Hyde, Carlton Palmer, Tricky Trev Francis, Carbone and Di Canio slugging tiny cups of coffee at Nonnas on Ecclesall Road. The club oozed the 1990s like few others. Take a visit to Hillsborough and you will be transported back to that era; very little has changed. There are reasons for this. “Let’s all meet up in the year 2000,” sang Owls fan Jarvis Cocker, a man who might seem unlikely to know his John Fantham from Fanny Adams, and that was the last year Wednesday played in the Premier League.
There were orgiastic scenes at Wembley this May when Wednesday won the League One playoff final against Barnsley via a Josh Windass blockbuster, with popular manager Darren Moore taking the plaudits. It took until Sunday’s win over Rotherham for Owls fans to celebrate another victory. Moore was dumped in the summer and replaced by Xisco Muñoz, who delivered just two points in 10 matches. His replacement is Danny Röhl, a 34-year-old coaching wunderkind who, on his unveiling, boasted of his learnings at the feet of Ralf Rangnick, Ralph Hasenhüttl and Hansi Flick …
It’s the off-field situation that most worries Wednesdayites. Dejphon Chansiri, scion of a Thai family that flogs tuna to the world, has been owner since January 2015. After funding a couple of playoff near-misses under Carlos Carvalhal, returns soon diminished. And he became the subject of disquiet among fans. That the club was then docked points after Hillsborough was sold to a separate Chansiri entity in an FFP swerve that didn’t actually work was always likely to affect the popularity ratings. Chansiri now wants out and for someone else to foot the bill. Monday saw him demand fans solve his cashflow problems. “If 20,000 people gave £100 then it’s £2m, and it’d be clear – so we can finish it,” parped the owner. So, what is “it”? That would be unpaid tax liabilities, players wages due … today. “If we were to hit 30 days (of late payment breaches) then we’ll get a (transfer) ban for three windows,” he helpfully explained, the chances of Wednesday returning to that rightful top-flight place becoming as likely as Tango Man inventing a time machine.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I would have Soccer Saturday on and I’d be like: ‘I don’t know if I can watch this. You’d see so many names pop up: ‘Yep, played with him, against him.’ Then you think: ‘Gah, that should still be me.’ You look for your old clubs and I’d be like: ‘I can’t watch this, I’m going to have to take the dog out’” – Tom Carroll explains how he has struggled with adjusting to life outside the Premier League after coming through the ranks at Tottenham. Now 31, he spent last season without a club but is playing again at Exeter City in League One.
Re: analysis of Manchester United’s many problems (yesterday’s Football Daily). I feel it necessary to point out that Gary Neville did not allude to any boy wizards; he alluded to an actor called Daniel Radcliffe. I can sympathise; I’m a Spurs fan and, given their current league position, I’m also having trouble separating fantasy from reality” – Tim Clarke.
It would have been funnier if Neville had waited until such time as an ex-Brighton manager was touted as their next manager, in which case he could say that United need ‘Harry Potter, not Graham Potter’” – Elaine Shaw.
Send your letters to email@example.com. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Tim Clarke.