Alan Biggs at Large: Questioning what failure would be for Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday players have been queuing up to take responsibility for how this season pans out.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 8:52 am
Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore.

The message in so many words is that not being promoted would be failure.

Skipper Barry Bannan has said it, Lee Gregory said it straight after signing and last week Dominic Iorfa reiterated the same message.It’s positive thinking and makes a refreshing change from the more common “there or thereabouts” mantra, the “see where this takes us” and “taking nothing for granted.”I’m sure it’s genuine too. These are players removing excuses from the equation, which is pretty rare in such bold terms.What’s worth adding, however, is that ultimately players - or at least those under contract - seldom have to take “full responsibility” for their results as a team.Always that falls on the manager in the end and there is no doubt about where the pressure will focus if Wednesday look like falling short of promotion back to the Championship.It will not have been their intention, of course, but those unequivocal words of the players would sharpen the focus in that event.Which is not a criticism, just a reality and one of which Darren Moore will be well aware and also consenting, considering he could have toned down the squad message if he so wished.But it does also promote the need for some perspective on what can be termed “failure.”Let’s turn it round the other way. For me, if Moore gets the Owls promoted inside two seasons that will be a success and I’d be granting that as a minimum term if it was my call.There are no one-shot guarantees for big clubs at this level. Ask Leeds United or Sunderland of recent years, the club right here across the city and, among numerous examples, Wednesday themselves.I’d question whether Moore could be deemed to have “failed” if this Hillsborough season proves to be another case in point - providing they are at the very least pushing in the top half.That is not setting the bar low or giving the manager a free pass.Selection and tactics are fairly under scrutiny while ever this group falls short of its potential.

Moore will be questioned, and rightly so, if Wednesday don’t take it to the wire. And possibly even then.But there is a difference between criticism and summarily calling for yet another boss to be sacked. That is where football has gone completely out of kilter.So while the players might feel they have “failed” - and I think they would be honest enough to repeat that at the time - it’s dangerous to then take the logical conclusion of pinning it all on the manager.Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that and we are getting ahead of ourselves here, another sin of the game where managers are prematurely judged.Wednesday are on a course, on and off the field, that makes sense.

They should stick to it and not be deflected at such an early stage of what appears to be a total reset.