Owls well placed going into 2020 but off-field issues still looming
With the Owls in play-off contention going into the second half of the 2019-20 season Garry Monk's side have plenty to play for on the back of what has been and up and down decade to say the least.
Going into 2010, Wednesday were in trouble on and off the pitch. The club sacked manager Brian Laws in December 2009 with the team struggling around the Championship relegation zone. Off the pitch chairman Lee Strafford was looking for potential investment while trying to fight off the threat of administration.
Alan Irvine took charge in January but failed to halt the slide and the Owls were relegated, losing out in a last day survival decider against Crystal Palace by drawing 2-2 at Hillsborough when only a win would have been enough to see the Owls safe.
Off the pitch the battle was won in November 2010 when Milan Mandaric saved the club and agreed a deal to settle the major debts. Alan Irvine could turn things around on the field and was replaced by Gary Megson but the 2010-11 season saw a disappointing mid-table finish in League One. Megson got the Owls into promotion contention in 2011-12 but was replaced by Dave Jones when Wednesday started to stutter. Jones arrival saw the club clinch automatic promotion to the Championship.
The next 3 seasons saw Wednesday make gradual improvements after Stuart Gray replaced Dave Jones as manager but the club were struggling to break into the top half of the Championship.With the club still losing money, Milan Mandaric was looking for new investment having run a tight ship since his financial rescue of the club in 2010.
Having flirted with one or two dubious potential new owners in 2014, Mandaric sold the club to Dejphon Chansiri in early 2015, making a tidy profit on his initial investment.
In the summer of 2015 Chansiri appointed Carlos Carvalhal as Owls manager, little was known about Portuguese coach but as the 2015-16 progressed with investment in the playing squad being increased significantly, hope and belief gathered pace.
The Owls finished 6th in the division, beat Brighton in a memorable play-off semi-final but missed out on promotion, losing the final 1-0 to Hull City at Wembley.
The Owls were among the promotion contenders again in 2016-17 and finished in 4th place in the Championship. They suffered play-off agony again when Huddersfield beat them on penalties in the semi-final after 2 below-par performances.
2017-18 seemed to start with the play-off disappointment still hanging over the club and coach Carvalhal had attracted the interest of Premier League clubs. By December he was on his way put, destined for Cardiff in the top flight and another largely unknown figure in English football terms, Jos Luhukay took the helm at Hillsborough. Wednesday finished 15th that season but a string end to the campaign gave hope of improvement in 2018-19.
Luhukay appeared to make a stance against certain members of the Owls squad with experienced players like Westwood and Hutchinson cast aside in 2018-19 and as results started to slip his constant changing of selection and formation frustrated the majority of the fan base. Luhukay was dismissed in December 2018 with the Owls in 18th place.
Steve Bruce was announced as new manager soon after but his appointment was delayed until February 2019 for personal reasons with Lee Bullen taking charge until then. The senior members of the squad that had been left out by Luhukay returned to the fold and an upturn in results saw Wednesday finish the season in 12th place.
There was an air of cautious optimism going into the 2019-20 campaign under Steve Bruce but that was thrown into chaos a couple of weeks before kick-off when Bruce jumped ship to head to Newcastle United. Once agin Lee Bullen took over and the Owls won their first two fixtures. An inconsistent run of results followed and pressed home the need for a new manager, with Garry Monk appointed in September.
The Owls end the decade in 6th place in the Championship, well in contention for a promotion challenge.
However, much may depend on how the club deal with off-field matters. The EFL charged Wednesday with misconduct in November due to how they accounted for the sale of Hillsborough in the 2017-18 accounting period. The Owls have battled against the league's profit and sustainability regulations for a couple of seasons and have been placed under transfer embargo's at times. The club are fighting this latest ruling vigorously stating that they received assurances from the EFL that the way the sale was recorded would be acceptable.
The club released a statement in late December stating that they are not currently under an embargo as they contest the misconduct charge. That could be key going into the January transfer window as the last 3 games have shown how heavily reliant the team are on having Steven Fletcher in attack.
It certainly hasn't been a dull decade for Wednesday fans and the next 10 years look set to start in eventful fashion, on and off the field.