Owls away day troubles escalate with Stevenage hammering

Being cast in the real-life role of a Sheffield Wednesday supporter brings with it a certain degree of turbulence, but every now and again it seems the low points are just that bit more spectacular with this club.

Without wanting to delve into the masses of problems experienced at S6 over the years, Tuesday 13th September this year brought about a defeat to so-called lesser lights that has had past humiliations flooding back into the memory banks of Owls followers.

The 8-0 defeat to Newcastle United in 1999 (5 goals for Alan Shearer), a 7-1 Stan Collymore-inspired humbling at home to Nottingham Forest four years earlier, 7-2 at Blackburn Rovers in 1997.

The above were embarrassing but the relative comfort lies in the fact they were Premier League games.

Since relegation in 2000, heavy defeats at the Madejski Stadium to Reading also spring to mind, 6-0 in 2008 and 5-0 in the same fixture the following season.

Last season back in League One there were cries of ‘is this as bad as it gets?’ as Exeter City (5-1) and Leyton Orient (4-0) laughed in the face of the modern day team representing the famous Yorkshire club.

Indeed humour is a vital ingredient of being a Wednesdayite but it doesn’t numb the pain of seeing the side you have invested so much time, emotion and money in having the proverbial floor wiped with them.

Unfortunately we were here again this week as upwardly-mobile Stevenage destroyed the Owls 5-1 at the Lamex Stadium to move into the League One play-off places.

Craig Reid, John Mousinho and Michael Bostwick emphatically set the tone as Graham Westley’s men raced into a 3-0 lead after just 17 minutes, going 5-0 up in the second half before Gary Madine reduced the arrears.

The very sight of the scoreline is devastating enough for Owls supporters, regardless of Stevenage’s fairly recent status as a non-league outfit, but the away day blues are showing no signs of grinding to a halt.

The last eleven games out of base in all competitions have seen Wednesday win none, with the most recent success away from Hillsborough coming at Oldham Athletic on March 8th.

Home form has been excellent so far in 2011/12 with four league wins from four at Hillsborough and a penalty success over Blackpool in the Carling Cup, continuing the end of season form last time out that saw four home wins from the final five games.

There was a sense of a corner being turned after gaining a valuable point at Charlton before beating league leaders (at the time) MK Dons at the weekend but the Stevenage result has brought everyone crashing back down with classic Wednesday-style deflation.

Among the fanbase, some have started to voice their discontent against Megson and his approach, pointing to the worrying away form but also other aspects of his management.

The task of turning around a club laden with so many deep-rooted problems is a gradual one, although this does not mean the manager is blameless.

Of course Megson in the line of work he is in will receive the brunt of the criticism but some of the sweeping statements seem to lack any real sense of perspective.

All areas need to be looked at when away form is so starkly concerning, especially when held up against the terrific home form, but some seem all too ready to bring out the ‘Megson out’ call.

Just seeing some of the goals conceded highlights a bizarre lack of basic defending skill from certain players which surely Megson and his staff with all their best-laid plans could not legislate for.

It is all the more baffling when you look at the strong results at Hillsborough, not least beating the league leaders just three days previous.

There are some who have taken a step back to observe that the players have to seriously look at their part in the nature of this result and the away form as a whole.

You can do all the planning as a manager but basic errors are being made in the team that are killing any chance of success away from home, making a sheer mockery of the loyal support they receive wherever the venue.

Megson and his staff have to consider what they did wrong but just as crucially the players must take their share of the responsibility, and for the fans the bigger picture has to be looked at.

Sheffield Wednesday has suffered so fundamentally for so long and there is no quick fix, this is a slow process and yet another managerial sacking for the club is not the way to go.