As most people reading this article will know, when it comes to recruitment at Wednesday, I’ve been one of the biggest critics. I stand by my criticisms, and I think it’s clear for all to see that this is an area of the club which needs a lot of work.
Without going over old ground too much, the club’s failure to move players on, and to not bring the right people, as well as players, has cost us big time in my opinion. The knock-on effect has been disastrous and has led to a stale squad, poor league performance, a hefty wage bill, and top-end prices for supporters across the board.
I know I’ve criticised the chairman more than most over the years, but I feel my concerns have been fair, proven, and I have always been happy to say things to him in person, as he asks supporters to do. It’s my opinion that the failure to move players has been caused by overvaluation on our side, as well as not having the means to get deals on the table and over the line.
What I will say is the chairman is a determined and passionate individual, who wants to make a success of things. And yes, he has bankrolled the club, there’s no getting away from that, but that doesn’t mean he cannot receive criticism. My frustrations are born from the same mistakes being repeated because it makes no sense to persevere with something which hasn’t and isn’t working.
During the summer of the 2015/16 campaign, we had somewhat of a recruitment team in place, and we did well when it came to bringing players in. We all know things fell apart in this area post-Wembley, but I genuinely have a feeling things could change for the better moving forward, but it will require the chairman to let those who are experts in their field to have the opportunity to do what is best for the club.
From what I’ve heard recently, the appointments of David Downes, who is the head of recruitment at the club, and Dean Hughes, who plays a role in recruitment analysis, have been crucial. The pair, who were brought in by Steve Bruce, are very much the right men for the job, with Downes eager to improve how Wednesday go about their business in the transfer market.
It’s music to my ears, and a long time coming. I believe there’s an intention to put in place proper structure behind the scenes when it comes to recruitment, with the club also looking lower down the leagues and beyond to find players to bring into our 18s and 23s to develop. After nearly a year at the club, and two transfer windows, Downes and Hughes know there’s a need for change.
Hopefully, the people who are experts in their field will be allowed to press on with the much-needed changes. I have no doubt the chairman will be keen for the club to work better in this area, as it will only benefit him as well. So, it’s time to let the changes happen and not intervene. By trusting the process, we could have a more efficient summer transfer window.
We did ok in January, with Jordan Thorniley and Ash Baker heading out of the club, and Alessio da Cruz, Josh Windass and Connor Wickham joining on loan. Monk wanted to add in the attacking areas, and we’ve achieved this. Hopefully, when they’re all up to speed, they will give us the attacking verve we need.
I’m aware Manuel Hidalgo joined the club during the transfer window too, and without wishing to end on a sour note, I’ve commented on social media recently that I felt this was due to the relationship his agent, Lucas Cominelli, who also represents Fernando Forestieri, has with people at the club. Yesterday, Amadeu Paixao was looking pally with Cominelli, which has done nothing but strengthen my concerns on that one.