I had the idea to write something on this a while ago, but I thought I’d give it a bit longer to see if things continued in the same way. I’m a Sheffield Wednesday supporter, but I’m also a big football fan too, and having taken a much deeper interest in the sport and industry over the last three or so years, I’ve started to spot a few similarities in that time between Wednesday and West Ham.
Obviously, the one clear difference is that West Ham are in the Premier League and Wednesday aren’t. I think a lot of people would suggest Wednesday should be in the top flight alongside West Ham, both are steeped in tradition and are recognised by many as “big” clubs. Wednesday and West Ham also have big fan bases which tun out home and away, regardless of how the team are doing, which is something to be admired.
Let’s begin in the summer of 2015. Wednesday and West Ham saw changes in management with Carlos Carvalhal arriving at the former, while Slaven Bilic returned to West Ham, but this time as manager. With a change in management during the summer, this often represents a change in direction, which you could say was the case at both clubs.
Wednesday and West Ham both made a large amount of signings in the summer of 2015, while a significant number of players left both clubs too. You could say that this approach worked out well and the recruitment process was more hit than miss, with Wednesday making it to the Championship Play Off Final, while West Ham finished 7th in the Premier League.
Over the course of the 2015/16 campaign, both teams recorded memorable wins. Wednesday did brilliantly to cast aside both Arsenal and Newcastle in the cup as well as doing a great job of beating Brighton at home in the first leg of the play off semi finals. West Ham recorded victories over Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea, which is no mean feet.
While both sides saw a few players miss a number of games due to injury, they both managed to overachieve somewhat in my opinion. While Wednesday had strengthened and looked to be one of the better sides in the Championship on paper, I don’t think many would have predicted a play off final appearance. The same could be said about West Ham and how they managed to secure a 7th placed finish, especially having beaten some of the big hitters.
The 15/16 campaign ended with a feeling of positivity about what was to come the following season. Wednesday fans expected the club to take that step and secure top flight football, while the only was was up for West Ham supporters. So, there was an increase in pressure and expectation ahead of the 16/17 season, and you could say it was to be expected.
Over the course of the 2016/17 season, both Carlos Carvalhal and Slaven Bilic came under increasing pressure, while the owners of Wednesday and West Ham saw criticism directed their way. Looking at the recruitment done by both during this particular season, I’d suggest it wasn’t good enough in either case, with a lot of new signings failing to deliver as expected. Carlos Carvalhal, somehow, managed to guide Wednesday to 4th, where they lost in the play off semi finals to eventual winners Huddersfield. West Ham, however, fared worse than the season prior and finished 11th.
It seems to me that injuries have been a problem at both clubs for a while and this is something that has had more of an impact as time has gone on over the last three years. Some would suggest both have “injury prone players” but it does also seem that the respective training grounds have had an impact too.
As the 2017/18 campaign beckoned, the pressure was at an all time high at both clubs and on both managers in particular. Again, I’d suggest that the recruitment done wasn’t as good as it should have and possibly could have been and this in my opinion was one of the driving forces which saw the wheels come off at both Wednesday and West Ham. This resulted in both Carlos Carvalhal and Slaven Bilic being replaced, with Jos Luhukay taking over at Hillsboro’ and David Moyes stepping into the breach at West Ham.
17/18 was a season of extreme disappointment for both clubs and their supporters. Wednesday finished 15th, West Ham 13th, and everyone was eager to move on. It’s easy to understand the disappointment and frustration of fans, especially as the 15/16 campaign promised so much, with both clubs rapidly declining since.
West Ham decided to twist again following the end of the 17/18 season, with former Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini replacing Moyes at the helm, while Wednesday stuck with Luhukay. Both teams have so far under performed and under achieved so far this season in many respects, injuries have hit once again and the pressure has already mounted on Luhukay, while some began to question Pellegrini.
You could say that both clubs have been on similar journeys over the last three years, encountering similar problems, albeit in different leagues. Other things that both have in common have been a star player refusing to play for the club and Paulo Fonseca, but the biggest thing is the support. Both clubs have been backed by thousands and they’re the one’s who have ultimately been left disappointed
I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the good work done by fans of both clubs. Wednesday fans have joined together to back the Quidagoal campaign, while West Ham supporters have backed Isla Caton in her ongoing battle with neuroblastoma. Check below for relevant links.