To say it’s been a tough couple of years for Sheffield Wednesday would be an understatement, with transfer embargos, poor signings and having to watch t’other lot from across the city chase promotion. But with Steve Bruce now at the helm, it feels like things are finally turning round for the Owls.
Although a popular owner, Dejphon Chansiri’s previous managerial appointments – Carlos Carvalhal, who worked for a while, and Jos Luhukay, who never really got going – left a lot of Wednesday fans scratching their heads, but by giving the job to Bruce, it seems like he is listening to the support again.
Sure, the situation is still far from perfect, and the start of his time in charge has not been barnstorming – a last-minute win at rock-bottom Ipswich followed by three draws – but it’s much better than the first half of the season, and it’s a solidity that Wednesday have been missing. Three clean sheets in Bruce’s first three games is also a mightily impressive achievement for a team which had kept five all season before he came in.
At this point, it’s hard to get excited about the rest of the season as it’s very unlikely Wednesday will accomplish anything in the closing months, but that’s not what matters. Fans are looking forward to what the future might bring, and Bruce – an experienced and competent manager – is the man to do it. Carvalhal might’ve given Wednesday fans their best season in recent memory with that run to the play-off final in 2015/16, but Bruce is the man who could take them one step further, and get them back into the Premier League. It’s been a long time coming.
Wednesday have been hamstrung somewhat by their financial woes – frivolous spending on players who weren’t needed, or are on huge contracts, left them facing a transfer embargo last summer, which was only lifted in the days before the window closed. They could face another one this year, but regardless, a large number of big contracts are up this summer, and there should be a big overhaul of players, allowing Bruce to rebuild the squad in his image.
The new boss has won more promotions to the Premier League than any other manager, and if he’s given time to rebuild, and the financial support that Luhukay wasn’t afforded, it’s easy to dream that Wednesday could be back where they belong, amongst the giants of English football in the top-flight.