The visit to Wembley for the Sky Bet Championship play-off final was the ultimate experience for every Sheffield Wednesday fan, who had waited 23 years for that moment.
The outstanding carnival atmosphere created by the Owls was described as the best support at Wembley this decade; only the result was overshadowed by a dark cloud on such a perfect day – congratulations to Hull City.
Carvalhal’s army will only learn from this loss and are expected to come back bigger, better and stronger in the 2016/17 season. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of hard work still has to be done until Wednesday reach their ultimate goal of Premier League football, however, we have already learnt that the club are ALMOST there having come so close this term.
So, what else have we learnt in the 2015/16 campaign?
1. Dejphon Chansiri means business
Admittedly on Chansiri’s arrival in 2015, I was as anxious as the next Wednesdayite having an unknown Thai businessman arrive at S6 as owner and chairman of my beloved club. Initial changes with the backroom staff, players, stadium and general infrastructure have all since been beneficial to Sheffield Wednesday, having achieved sixth position in the league, and then the recent play-off final.
Being a man of his word and doing whatever it takes to get success, I firmly believe Chansiri WILL take Wednesday to the Premier League. Having already spent many of his millions, Chansiri has helped make Sheffield Wednesday serious title contenders already for next season. I am sure the summer will see Chansiri continue to throw cash into the club to forever strengthen where possible.
2. Carlos Carvalhal is the right man for the job
Like Chansiri, Carvalhal was very much an unknown figure in the UK upon his arrival to S6 as head coach. Although the first two months started slowly for the Owls as Carvalhal distinguished his ‘best’ starting XI, victory over Newcastle and Arsenal in the League Cup and steady progressive league form stamped Carvalhal’s authority and managerial ability into the English game. Carlos’ likeable persona, humour, confidence and passion has turned a few heads also – Carvalhal was linked with Premier League Swansea City throughout the season.
Thankfully, confirmation of a three-year contract extension with the Owls has ended speculation of a move away from the club. Portuguese-born Carvalhal boosts a 45% win ratio, losing only 13 ties in 56 games as Wednesday manager. Slowly but surely, every month has seen the Owls improve since his arrival. He is 100% the right man for this job.
3. Sheffield Wednesday will come back even stronger
Some would say Sheffield Wednesday have overachieved this season; I say this is just a taste of what’s to come. The play-off final loss is a huge learning curve for all involved at S6, but is something to be very, very proud of. Chansiri, Carvalhal, the backroom staff and the playing squad can hold their heads up high and use this loss as further determination to achieve automatic promotion next season.
Wednesday have certainly taken a step forward this year and I expect them to continue in the same direction. New additions will arrive over the summer; experience of promotion and a desire to succeed are the key attributes that Wednesday will be looking for. The Owls are now a team to be feared and have proven they can beat anybody on their day. The play-off final has only put Sheffield Wednesday’s future in the top flight on pause.