Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup. January 27.
Sometimes, kick-off can’t come soon enough.
For those who still believe in the Magic of the FA Cup, the Magic couldn’t have come at a better time for Sheffield Wednesday. This weekend’s draw against Chelsea gets the Owls a big game against one of the big six from the Premier League, a modest financial boost, and some exposure via a prime television broadcast slot (at least as far as those of us on the West Coast are concerned). But for Wednesday supporters, the match means an opportunity to focus on the play on the field and let’s us take a break from what has been a storm of uncertainty in the front office and on the medical front.
As some teams in the Championship tend to do from time-to-time, the Owls took a big gamble a few years back by investing on a short term plan to earn promotion to the Premier League. And it almost worked. Two consecutive playoff runs fell just short, ending with a 1-0 loss in a Wembley Final (2016) and on the wrong end of a penalty shootout (2017). Since then, the effects of the strategy have taken its toll on the club. A high payroll and aging players have resulted in stubborn injuries and inconsistent play on the field. The high salaries caused trouble with the EFL’s Profitability and Sustainability rules and the team spent most of the 2018 summer transfer window under embargo -- unable to sign any new players.
Wednesday were inconsistent and bounced around bottom half of the table for the first half of the 2018-19 season. Fans grew impatient with manager Jos Lukahay’s constant lineup changes and inability to inspire players. In December, owner Dejphon Chansiri announced he would hold a fan forum to address their concerns… and then… the headlines started coming, and coming, and coming. Manager sacked. Arrest warrant issued. Team put up for sale. Arrest warrant cancelled. Second embargo looming.