Alan Biggs at large: Sheffield Wednesday need a reboot, regardless of relegation
There’s still hope and everything crossed for Sheffield Wednesday. But arguably the worst thing that can happen is staying up - IF that leaves anyone thinking nothing has to change.
That could present an even bigger danger to the club’s welfare, and prospects for recovery; if, for instance, the owner was lulled into seeking some sort of justification.
If you don’t get your decision-making right over a long period then eventually those decisions will be taken for you.
That’s the parlous position Wednesday find themselves in - and the only consolation is that finally the disbandment of a stale and ageing core group can actually happen.
Or at least it should happen in my view - regardless of which division the Owls are in next season, amid the gifted, rather than earned, hope that it could still be the Championship even now.
Had Wednesday acted to reshape and freshen the group following their two promotion near-misses in the play-offs, this sorry state of affairs might not have arisen.
And it is not a case of being wise after the event as Dejphon Chansiri has faced this criticism consistently, from here and elsewhere.
As it is, relegation would leave him with little or no sway over who stays at the club in what has to be a near total rebuild for the not inconsiderable challenge of League One. Whereas survival would create an opportunity to do the necessary more on the club’s terms.
Either way, I hope and expect this will be led by Darren Moore, whose recovery from Covid complications transcends everything right now - and that he will benefit from a much-needed change of structure.
The most infuriating thing is that this squad does not lack quality. But time has overtaken it as a collective and it’s time to start again.
Whatever the outcome, it’s likely a number of players - Adam Reach, Kadeem Harris, Jordan Rhodes and Tom Lees (fitness permitting) - will receive offers from Championship clubs (I’d keep the first two - if the Owls survive).
And would Barry Bannan stay if relegated, regardless of his new deal? Can a top Championship performer sell his playing career so far short as dropping into the third tier?
Would the skipper’s lucrative wages drop sufficiently under that deal anyway? I worry for Bannan that he could find himself trapped by Wednesday’s theoretical fee demands which, for a 31-year-old, have to be realistic in that the buying club will want to invest primarily in his contract.
Who would I keep? Well, Osaze Urhoghide for definite. Matt Penney and Alex Hunt might also develop enough to flourish - more at the lower level - and certainly the accent has to be on youth.
I can still see Moses Odubajo, currently injured, offering a threat as an attacking midfielder.
But sad farewells for two outstanding servants in Keiren Westwood and Sam Hutchinson, while Joey Pelupessy and Elias Kachunga would also be surplus to my requirements.
In the case of the first two particularly, their legacy of service does not deserve to be tainted with relegation at the end of it.
Whatever criticism is levelled at this team, I don’t doubt every player is trying his best and let’s hope we can all hail a proud - preferably miraculous - finale.