Welcome to the Sheffield Wednesday Football Manager 2020 thread...
Sheffield Wednesday Football Club is a professional association football club based in Sheffield, England. The team competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Formed in 1867 as an offshoot of The Wednesday Cricket Club (itself formed in 1820), they went by the name of the Wednesday Football Club until changing to their current name in 1929.
Wednesday is one of the oldest football clubs in the world of any code, and the third-oldest professional association football club in England. In 1868 its team won the Cromwell Cup, only the second tournament of its kind. They were founding members and inaugural champions of the Football Alliance in 1889, before joining The Football League three years later. In 1992, they became founder members of the Premier League. The team has spent most of its league history in English football's top flight, but they have not played at that level since being relegated in 2000.
The Owls, as they are nicknamed, have won four league titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and one FA Community Shield. Wednesday have also competed in UEFA cup competitions on four occasions, reaching the quarter-finals of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1963. In 1991, they defeated Manchester United 1-0 in the Football League Cup Final as a tier 2 team. As of 2019 they remain the last team outside the top flight to win one of English football's major trophies.
In the 19th century, they played their matches at several stadiums around central Sheffield, including Olive Grove and Bramall Lane. Since 1899, the club has played all its home matches at Hillsborough stadium, a near-40,000 capacity stadium in the north-west Sheffield suburb of Owlerton.
In January 2015 Dejphon Chansiri took 100% ownership of the club and agreed to write off all debts. Chansiri stated his intention to win promotion back to the club for the 2017–18 season – the football club's 150th anniversary – and came close to achieving that goal a year head of schedule, with new coach Carlos Carvalhal leading the club into the end of season play-offs at the end of the 2015–16 season. Wednesday were beaten in the final by Hull City at Wembley. They made the play-offs again the following season, but lost on penalties to the eventually promoted Huddersfield Town in the semi final.
The club were favorites to be promoted in the 2017/18 season, but injuries and poor results saw them drop to the lower half of the table. Carvalhal left by mutual consent in December 2017, and was replaced by Dutch manager Jos Luhukay (sad face) a month later. The team finished in an uneventful 15th place at the end of the season. Luhukay was sacked in December 2018 after a run of only 1 win in 10, which left the team 18th in the table. He was replaced by former Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce who saw an upturn in form to finish 12th. However, Bruce controversially resigned in July 2019 to manage Newcastle United.
On 6 September 2019, the club appointed former Birmingham City manager Garry Monk as the new manager... That is until you take over.
First team squad
In short, the entire first team along with the club need rebuilding over time. However, that does not mean the first team squad is poor when you take over. The squad is surprisingly well balanced and has some real gems... and Rhodes.
Westwood is the clubs first choice goalkeeper, and the best goalkeeper in the squad, his only point of weakness is his distribution.
Wildsmith (injured), Dawson and (for some reason) Jones are all back ups. Wildsmith has perhaps the most potential, but Dawson has seen an increase in playing time over the last two seasons.
Right back has become a position of strength for the club since the departure of Hunt to Bristol City. Palmer has been the long term back up to the position, with both Iorfa and Odubajo now ahead of him. Iorfa is a more than capable central defender too. Whichever you prefer is largely down to playing style (Odubajo being better offensively) but Iorfa remains the better defender.
Left back... Honestly, there are left backs at the club. Fox does his best, it is ultimately not at the standard required, however Thorniley is more than capable of playing there (as is Reach or Palmer if you are in a pickle). This is a position that needs attention as soon as possible.
Central defence is an area of strength. Lees is the best central defender at the club and the club captain. Van Aken is the natural choice to partner him (left footed) but is on loan. However, Börner has now become the other first choice alongside Lees. Bates is a central defender in on loan for the season and can act as cover, as can Iorfa and Thorniley (and in extreme circumstances so can Hutchinson, who makes a decent ball playing defender actually). This is the only position with any real youth prospect for the club. Rice has potential to be far superior to all the other central defenders and could be a good option to develop. I would advise looking at bringing in another central defender of better quality than Börner.
We'veeee got Bannan...
I like my teams to play with a holding midfielder, and that system suits the Wednesday side well with a choice of players for that position. Hutchinson is a tough tackling all action type with an awful injury record. Pelupessy can play the role in a different style and Luongo can cover there easily. This is not a glamerous position, however there are two good options here (if one of them is fit). In a more central midfield position you have Pelupessy who can operate there no problems, however, Hutchinson is not a natural there. You have a lot of options in this position, a lot. Bannan and Lee, the metronomic pair that earned the club play off dreams... however, they are older and in Lee's case more broken. They remain a good solid pair, Lee as a box to box, and Bannan as the play maker. Luongo can play here naturally and is a younger, slightly better Lee. Finally for the center of midfield there is Reach, who has enoyed varried success there over the last couple of seasons converting from a winger or wide midfielder. However they remain better positions for him.
Wide midfield was something that really did not exist for Wednesday until very recently. The midfield for a long time has lacked genuine pace and flair, until Harris arrived (and Murphy on loan). These two even from midfield make excellent wide options along with Reach though the pair are better suited as attacking midfielders.
Attacking midfielders! Like mentioned, there is finally a way to use the wings with Harris, Murphy, Reach and Forestieri as good options. Forestieri is perhaps the squads best forward, and his natural position has changed this year to being an out and out forward unlike previous years.
Forwards by the bucket load! Wednesday had a phase of buying forwards because the forwards did not score enough goals, now the club has lots of forwards who do not score enough goals, logic. As mentioned as far as forwards go you have two options, a creative advanced forward in Forestieri, or a deep lying more complete forward in Fletcher. Nuhiu offers a target man option, and is a real presence up top with better technique than he is given credit for, and Winnall offers a poacher / pressing option. Ultimately Fletcher and Forestieri are the only forwards with any real quality. Oh, and there is Rhdoes, who like Fox, is ultimately just not good enough but unlike Fox is not on a mere £8,000 a week... oh no... Rhodes is on £35,000.
There are a couple of big problems with the squad, and some positives. We can start with the negatives. The first being linked to the clubs financial situation, the club has massively over spent on players since Chansiri has owned the club and as a result has little to no money for either wages or actual transfers. This means that in order to have any ability to develop the squad you will have to sell players. This is linked to another problem with the squad, the players are not getting any younger. Almost the entire squad is 25+, with the majority of the quality players being at least 29+; Westwood, Fletcher, Lee, Hutchinson, Bannan, Forestieri. Realistically they are your first choice forwards, and potentially first choice midfield with a lack of money to bring through replacements.
So... just sell players and generate money I hear you say, well who in their right mind wants to buy Rhodes comes my reply. I'm not just being mean to Rhodes, but his wages and total lack of footballing ability are negatives for the club.
Rhodes is on £35,000 a week, Winnall £16,000, Fox £8,000, Nuhiu £13,000... These are all players who probably will not feature and yet may prove difficult to move on, but the wages and money generated from them gives you money. The problem is selling them, reinvest this money though and the balance and quality in the rest of the squad should easily be enough for a top half, or promotion push.
Well, just the staff... who are really... not actually very good, bar a couple. The staff is open to change, this will only help the squad. There are some excellent members of staff such as Strudwick (Head of Sports Science), however, the club needs a total rebuild and that includes staff.
So... why would I manage them?
The challenge duh!
Wednesday are a 'sleeping giant', a great club that needs help getting back to the top of English football. It might take a while, and require a lot of clever transfers but it can be done. The team is likeable and full of genuinly quality players in each department, Westwood, Lees, Bannan, Forestieri and Fletcher. Advice? Westwood - Iorfa, Lees, Börner, Thorniley - Pelupessy/Hutchinson - Lee/Luongo, Bannan - Reach, Harris/Murphy - Forestieri/Fletcher is a fun, enjoyable and good first eleven.
I hope you have as much fun as I do managing Sheffield Wednesday... honestly, it is fun.
I will try and keep this up to date with my save too, up the Owls!