This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Terrace Talk’ series, which provides personal opinions from our FLW Fan Pundits regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
The Owls went into the second leg at Hillsborough with a one-goal deficit to overturn thanks to Ross Stewart’s strike, and for the most part in South Yorkshire it looked as though Alex Neil’s side were going to frustrate them.
Quiz: Which club did Sheffield Wednesday sign these 24 players from in the 2000s?
Lee Gregory though levelled the tie with just over 15 minutes to go, but in the 10 minutes of time that was added on at the end of the contest, Patrick Roberts delivered a deathly blow to Wednesday’s promotion hopes to level the tie on the night and send the Wearsiders to Wembley.
It meant a disappointing conclusion to the campaign for Darren Moore, who guided the Owls to fourth place in League One in his first full season in charge and saw his side really pick up the pace in the final months of the season, with the goals coming from all angles – especially on home soil.
Despite some fan frustration over Moore’s management during the play-off double header, FLW’s Wednesday fan pundit James Mappin believes that Moore must be kept on as manager for the 2022-23 campaign.
“100 per cent Darren Moore needs to stay as manager next season,” James said.
“Look at what he has done – the club when he first came in was a broken club, we were destined for League One, lots of deadwood and players on big wages, we got rid of all those, he’s brought in a squad that has done incredibly well this season.
“To finish fourth is a fantastic achievement – it’s not finished in us going up and you could probably say we perhaps should have gone up as automatics with the squad we’ve got.
“But he’s had a lot of injuries and he’s starting to turn the ship around. We’re a fickle fanbase as we are and it’s easy to say that he’s not done his job and he should have done better but for me he’s done well, he’s brought in some quality squad players, good players on loan – yes some have been wrong but he’s had to have a big rebuild process.
“I think we need to stick by him for next season – if it gets to Christmas and we’re 10th or in the bottom half of the league then I think questions need to be asked and perhaps it would be time for him to go.
“But I honestly think if we can make a few tweaks here and there to the squad, if we can perhaps be a bit luckier in terms of injuries to key players, I think we’ve got a squad and manager that can take us to automatic promotion next season.”
There have been some calls from supporters for Moore to be replaced following the play-off semi-final defeat, but those calls do appear to be quite reactionary.
At times in the first half of the 2021-22 season, Wednesday were disappointing and it took a while for them to get into their stride, with the final few months before the play-offs being much better than anything we’d seen previously.
But it is important to note that so many key players were lost to injuries throughout the season, and despite Wednesday having a sizeable squad it was always going to be difficult.
The Owls are a big fish in League One and if they can keep the majority of the squad together, then they should be bang there in the automatic promotion race in 2022-23.