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Groundhopping Owl

Sheffield Wednesday Fan
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About Groundhopping Owl

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    Edinburgh, Scotland

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  1. I'm interested to see what happens with Chelsea's enormous stash of young players this summer. The footballing authorities really don't seem too fond of them, obviously they've been embargoed for breaking the rules to do with signing young players, plus FIFA keep making noises about limiting the number of players you can have out on loan to stop these ridiculous situations. Will the embargo mean they keep loaning out players for fearing of not having them available if needed, or will they sell to bring some cash in? The likes of Hector and Palmer clearly have no future there.
  2. Dawson 7 - some good saves second half, distribution mostly fine but the clean sheet is the main thing. Iorfa 7 - very good defensive work today. Lees 8 - thought he had an excellent game, handled Diedhou very well. Hector 7 - solid again, distribution was quite iffy in the first half. Lazaar 7 - a good game from him, passed it quite well and got into good positions but he’ll need two world-beating performances to get the club to consider bringing him back I suspect. Reach 6 - some good creative moments mixed in with frustrating periods. His deliver into the box shows why he’s an asset to the team, his failure to impose himself shows why he’s not enough of an asset for the club to reject bids out of hand. Bannan 8 - MOTM, brilliant goal and dictated our game in a very professional manner, he used the ball very well every time he got it. Pelupessy 6 - broke up play fairly well at times but his passing was as unadventurous as ever. Hutchinson has progressed in that area, Pelupessy needs to do the same or he’s going to end up being surplus to requirements. Boyd 6 - he was fairly neat in possession but struggled to impose himself, his lack of pace and/or physicality is starting to remind me of Stevie May. Hooper 6 - his link up play is very good but match fitness is always the problem with him - at his physical peak he’s able to put the fear of God into defenders, at the moment he struggles to keep up. Joao 7 - very dangerous movement in the first half and deserved his goal (great finish it was too) but he cut a frustrated figure in the second half, subbing him was the right move.
  3. A very good day to you all, especially mi’lud, whose introduction to today’s game fills me with a genuine optimism - perhaps Stubbs should be sent on leave more often. The summer may be a great unknown but for the time being we’re moving in the right direction - performances are generally pretty good, several players have made noticeable improvements and we look more tactically adept. All in all it’s enough to leave me very much looking forward to today’s game in spite of the fact that there’s not much riding on it for ourselves. Hillsborough will be glorious in the sunshine, Bristol are likely to make it a good contest and the bank holiday means it should be a good turnout. I’d quite like to see us have another crack at that 4-3-3 shape that we saw at Norwich as I strongly believe it suits Forestieri and Matias better than wide midfield roles. Then again, if we get to see Hooper and Fletcher paired up front again then I’m hardly going to complain. Today also has particular significance for me, it could be my last home game for a long while, as I’ll be spending the vast majority of next season on foreign shores. Make it a fond farewell for me Wednesday - and try not to get promoted before I’m back and around enough to justify regaining a season ticket COME ON WEDNESDAY!!! Wednesday 4-3 Bristol City (Fletcher 10, 57, Forestieri 19, Brownhill 23, 39, Paterson 59, Hector 82) 26,095
  4. Some wonderful bipolar comments about Dawson in here
  5. The Winnall signing turned out badly but there's no guarantee of any signing working out - I didn't think it was a bad piece of business at the time, signing a Championship striker in very good goalscoring form for half a million seemed pretty good value, it just made signing Rhodes just a week or so later even more pointless. Forget the Ajax comparison as it seems to derail things - we just need to spend our money far more smartly than we have done if we want to get anywhere in one of the world's most cut-throat divisions. The Winnall deal didn't work out but I hope it doesn't put us off making more of those sorts of deals where we take advantage of expiring contracts, as value is what we need to find, the days where we can spunk millions on the likes of Rhodes and Abdi are long gone.
  6. Oh I know the comparison between us and Ajax is pretty thin - my main point is it goes to show that money can be spent a lot more efficiently than we've done in DC's time. Ajax's circumstances are totally different to ours in terms of catchment area and stature etc, but the fact remains that if two clubs are spending roughly the same on wages and one gets to the European Cup semi-finals while the other is mid-table in the second tier, it's pretty strong proof that we need to re-think. The gap between us and Ajax is enormous, but they're the model we should aim at in terms of youth development and coaching (and hey, the style of play would make Saturday afternoons pretty enjoyable as well). FFP's constraints on us are an undoubted ballache but my main hope is that they finally force us to become innovative in how we spend what we have - spending £8.5 million on Jordan Rhodes weeks after doing a far cheaper deal for Sam Winnall wasn't innovative and it's blown up in our faces. Spreading your bets on younger players gives you a better chance of hitting the jackpot than chucking all of it at a big name - when Huddersfield went up I'm pretty sure the most expensive player in their squad was Schindler at about £2 million.
  7. Nixon (yes, I know...) is linking him pretty heavily with Rangers.
  8. I've just read this piece on Ajax's achievements in Europe this season, which mentions that they have a wage bill less than several Championship clubs as well as Celtic: https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/juventus-vs-ajax-result-final-score-goals-cristiano-ronaldo-watch-champions-league-highlights-a8873411.html Surely I'm not alone in thinking that it's pretty likely that we are among those "richer Championship clubs" who spend more on wages than Ajax, or that we're at least in the same ball park? We've shelled out millions on the likes of Rhodes, Forestieri and Hooper (not forgetting David Jones' £1,000,000 per week), then stockpiled these expensive players, no matter how they poorly or infrequently they play. For me it just goes to show how much our whole structure needs re-orienting towards younger, better-value players, as well as the value in ploughing investment into youth development and infrastructure, which in fairness we've worked to improve. This could well be the summer where we take a step towards that, depending on how much breathing room we can eek out of our FFP constraints. It's going to be a very interesting few months and it's up to DC and Bruce to work out how much differently we're able to do things, as we've been treading water for the last two seasons.
  9. Leeds clearly saw Fox as the weak link - every attack, including the goal, came down his side. I'd hoped Boyd would have been more help to him defensively (remember Carlos used to play Wallace in big games for his ability to help the full back behind him) but they both looked lost.
  10. He definitely seems to enjoy playing higher up the pitch, Bruce coming in has done him a big favour in that regard. If his final ball could improve a bit he could become a real box-to-box presence, and they're worth their weight in gold and this and any league.
  11. Westwood 9 - two world class saves to keep us in it, a heroic performance. Palmer 6 - bound to defensive duties because how far back we’d been pressed but didn’t really put a foot wrong. Lees 7 - very good performance, total commitment to the cause in his tackles and blocks which he was making all over the place. Hector 6 - slightly awkward in possession but generally fine. Fox 3 - oh dear. I feared we were in for a long afternoon when I saw his name on a team sheet, though I take no joy in being correct - they had him on toast, every attack was coming down his side. Start Lazaar next week please. Reach - n/a Hutchinson 6 - very good at breaking up play and carrying us forward first half, struggled second half as they swarmed all over us. Bannan 4 - hassled out of the game. Boyd 3 - did pretty much nothing. Hooper 5 - showed some neat link up play when he actually got the chance but once we were pinned back we needed somebody far fitter and more mobile in his position, subbing him was the right call by Bruce. Fletcher 5 - worked hard to feed off rubbish service. Credit to Forestieri and Nuhiu for trying to make something happen while too many other offensive players looked passive.
  12. Just on the train back with a pretty heavy sense of disappointment, albeit I’ve probably felt worse after losses at Leeds. We were beaten by a far better team today, it’s no use pretending otherwise. We made them work for it but as others have said, we barely laid a glove on them offensively. I thought we competed well first 20 minutes and put a few nice moves together but after that we were badly pinned back, without a super-human keeper we’d have been losing before half time. As it was, nothing changed after the break, if anything we were even more unable to get out of our half in the second 45. It’s a reminder that this team has a way to go to get over the line and that an overhaul of the squad is still in order. We couldn’t compete today because we don’t have enough dynamism in the team - we need to sign younger players with more stamina and technical ability, who can play in a few different systems. Bielsa’s pretty well-versed in how to beat a 4-4-2, especially when it contains passengers like Boyd and Matias, who ceded control of the wide areas to Leeds far too easily. So that’s the play-offs gone. Dealing a blow to United’s promotion push is a pretty hollow victory in that context really. On to next season, preferably after a few good results between now and final day.
  13. I'm going and will be as desperate as ever for us to beat that lot - but it's a win I'd feel a damn sight better about if Millwall have turned them over beforehand.
  14. Reads a bit like a thinly veiled club statement, but I've no problem with that. People need to get rid of the idea that walking through away turnstiles grants them the right to act like a pr*ck.
  15. Attendance 26,398 - 2,890 from Wednesday, hats off to all who went.
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