GARY Megson has called for a reality check on his efforts to drag Sheffield Wednesday from the depths of League One.
The Owls boss believes Wednesday’s fortunes are wrapped up in a level of fantasy that exaggerates their highs and lows. Megson speaks from a position of renewed strength after back-to-back wins and six goals have muted the alarm bells that jangled after that 5-1 hammering at Stevenage.
But he is still anxious for a sense of perspective despite seeing his side climb to seventh and within a point of Sheffield United in a tight top of the table. And Saturday’s tricky trip to Hartlepool, who are punching above their weight in third place, ought to provide it. “It’s incredible,” Megson told the Telegraph. “Everybody’s perception of Sheffield Wednesday is based on our history, the size of our support and the stadium. And as I said recently, we’re a Premier League club for rumours. We’d murder the league if it was based on that.
“I did an interview with a national journalist recently and it was all negative stuff. . . about our results at Stevenage and Alfreton (a stunning 14-0 pre-season defeat, albeit with a shadow side).
“But we won’t put things right at a stroke. Not unless we did what Fulham did when they bought their way through the leagues. Okay, there was no excuse for our performance at Stevenage and I couldn’t defend it at all. But we had only one player in our team that night (Gary Madine) who cost a fee.
“That’s the reality of the situation. The perception is that we’re the Barcelona of League One. I find it all a bit strange.”
Such have been the mood swings around Hillsborough that, according to the rumour mill, Megson has been within 90 minutes of the sack on two occasions already this season.
Whether true or not, a 2-1 home win over Notts County negotiated the first crisis point while the comeback for a 3-2 victory at Yeovil, post Stevenage, was also considered vital on a day when defeat had potentially dire repercussions.
The feeling generated thus far has been that Megson has always had only two matches in hand. Perhaps that’s now gone up to three! All tough fixtures with Chesterfield at home and then the Bramall Lane derby. But Wednesday are gradually getting into the desired position with the gap on those above them so narrow that a balance has to be struck with the odd setback.
And although Megson has had to rebuild from pragmatic levels of recruitment, there is clear evidence of support from above. The Championship loan acquisitions of striker David McGoldrick and goalkeeper Stephen Bywater will not have come cheap.
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