Football fans are fickle creatures. We have short term, selective memory. A player, manager or team are only as good as their last decent result. If that decent result came yesterday, then we wake up with a smile on our face, the sun is shining and everything appears brighter. If the last good result was any further back than that, a storm is already brewing.
Two games into the league season, fans of Sheffield Wednesday are already preparing to batten down the hatches.
Owls fans might have been able to accept defeats to recently relegated Queens Park Rangers and Championship mainstays Burnley, that have left them without a point in the league. However, those results sandwiched the league cup defeat to local rivals Rotherham United, a division below the Hillsborough outfit.
The visit to the New York stadium in midweek was always going to be a difficult one for the Owls. The Millers hadn’t beaten Sheffield Wednesday at their home ground in 37 years, and being the little neighbours next door, it was always going to be Rotherham’s cup final. But it was the manner of the defeat that has left Wednesday fans concerned. The players appeared to lack in creativity, passing accuracy, strength and fitness. More alarmingly though, the one thing that can help fans forgive all of the above, passion, was clearly missing as well.
With only three games played, as far as they are concerned, Owls fans have seen enough to know they are in for a season of struggle. If Dave Jones is worried, he didn’t show it yesterday. Talking to the BBC after their 2-1 defeat to Burnley at Hillsborough, he was satisfied with their second half performance, where the Owls pulled a goal back through a diving header from David Prutton, and then pressed to the end looking for an elusive equaliser. “I couldn’t have asked for any more in the second half” he said.
And why should he be worried?
Barnsley, Millwall, Charlton and Brighton have all played two and lost two in the Championship. This early into the season (and only six points off the top spot) it is far too early to judge where you are going to finish. Look at Reading’s season two years ago for an example, where they started the season slowly and ultimately finished as champions.
All the signs look positive for Wednesday. New signing, big Austrain Atdhe Nuhiu, was impressive against QPR last week and scored a great goal before he was taken off due to lack of match fitness. New Portuguese signing Floro, who played at Rotherham this week, is also lacking match sharpness. Both are late signings ahead of the season that Jones wants to get in to the team immediately so they can gel as soon as possible. He is in a catch-22 situation with them both, how do they get match sharpness without starting games? Jones is also without Jermaine Johnson who served the first of a three match ban this weekend.
As far as the manager is concerned though, it is only a matter of time before things come together.
“We know we can do better, and we will work at it,” he told the BBC defiantly.
But with the sound of discontent rumbling around Hillsborough like thunder, this early into the season, how much time will he be given to steer the club out of the storm and into calmer waters?