Sheffield Wednesday fans find themselves dissecting a season gone wrong in the Championship after relegation was confirmed following a 3-3 draw with Derby County over the weekend.
The Hillsborough faithful will also be dissecting the open letter Barry Bannan has just penned to them, reflecting on the feeling after captaining the Owls to relegation.
Bannan’s tone is raw and you can tell he’s hurting, but Wednesday fans aren’t searching for clues on that front. Instead, they want to know whether their skipper will still be around to lead them into League One.
Darren Moore will be forced to make changes in personnel over the summer, which is needed. He’s also got the backing of Bannan to get the club moving in the right direction again. The right man for the job, in his eyes.
Still, Moore will be awaiting news of whether or not the Scottish midfielder will be pulling the strings for him in the third-tier.
There’s no doubt that keeping hold of Bannan would be a coup for Wednesday. He’s a high-profile name even in the Championship and remains one of the division’s top operators in the middle of the park. He is not the reason Wednesday are where they are.
Bannan scored twice and registered three assists in 2020/21, with Wyscout stats telling us that he underperformed his Expected Goals and Expected Assists. A penalty miss against Bristol City impacts the former, whilst the lack of cutting edge amongst his teammates lessens the insult of the latter.
What Bannan continued to give Wednesday through the season was consistency, though, which was lacking in other departments.
A pass success of 78.4% over the season is what we have come to expect of Bannan, whilst winning almost 60% of his defensive duels and 43.4% of his attacking duels show how competitive he was in the midfield.
Plenty of the Wednesday squad looked past it over the season, but that wasn’t the case with Bannan. He looks like he can carry on performing to a high standard in the Championship, which only lifts the concern at Wednesday that he might move on.
Bannan at least has a new deal behind him, which protects Wednesday if Championship clubs come in looking to lure him out of Hillsborough.
Football League World understand that Brentford’s long-term interest in Bannan remains. In the event of Wednesday going down and Brentford missing out on promotion, they are likely to revisit a deal Thomas Frank is keen on. The West London outfit will begin their play-off campaign on Monday, still in with a shot at getting to the Premier League.
Few at Wednesday would deny him that type of opportunity on the back of relegation. It is basically the difference of playing at the top of League One versus the top of the Championship.
In a footballing sense, it’s a no-brainer. Bannan, though, is the Wednesday skipper and captaining the club to relegation leaves a bitter taste. You sense that by reading his emotional letter to the supporters and wonder if there’s a burning desire to lead Wednesday back.
A big decision looms for the 31-year-old.