Danny Wilson says Sheffield Wednesday have suffered due to points deduction threat

Former Sheffield Wednesday manager Danny Wilson thinks the strain of being under threat of a points deduction has taken its toll on his old club, and he is looking forward to them getting a fresh start.

Third in the Championship at Christmas, the Owls had slid to 15th when football went into its coronavirus-enforced hibernation, picking up just two wins from the last 12 matches.

Wilson thinks the chance to regroup should serve them well, and the weekend news that misconduct charges against owner Dejphon Chansiri, finance director John Redgate and former chief executive Katrien Meire have been dropped has raised hopes the club might escape a points deduction, which could have dragged them into the relegation battle.

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“It’s been a strange old season with things going on off the pitch as well as on it,” reflected Wilson, the midfielder who made 137 appearances for the South Yorkshire club between 1990 and 1993, and managed them between 1998 and 2000.

Danny Wilson.

“It was fantastic to see that the (misconduct) charges had been dropped against the owner and if that’s a sign they’re not going to suffer a points deduction that’s brilliant news but I do think it’s taken its toll on them. Their season has certainly tailed off.

“Whether that’s down to injuries or maybe issues in the dressing room with a few players not getting picked, I don’t know, but they’ve certainly had a bad run.

“From that point of view they need to make sure they can build again in the summer. Quite a few players are out of contract and that might help.

“But they’re a big club and I’m sure they can get back to where they should be.”

Former Owls player Danny Wilson.

The misconduct charge against the club was in relation to the sale of Hillsborough to Chansiri, who then leased it back. It was done to circumvent the Football League’s “profit and sustainability” rules, which allow Championship clubs to lose no more than £39m over a three-year period.

Such deals are permitted, but questions where raised over how and when the Owls did it. The £60m valuation of the ground was questioned, while the Land Registry said the deal was only recorded nearly a year after the sale had been accounted for.

With no precedent for the charge, the options for any punishment are wide-ranging, and could extend to a 21-point deduction in the most extreme cases. Wednesday are nine points above the relegation zone.

However, the Owls have always said they would vigorously contest the charge, which they view as unlawful, and last week’s reprieve for Chansiri, Redgate and Meire has raised optimism in S6 that they might be successful.

Wilson also had a spell as Sheffield Unted manager.

With senior players Steven Fletcher, Fernando Forestieri, Morgan Fox, Kieran Lee, Joey Pelupessy, Atdhe Nuhiu, Sam Winnall and Sam Hutchinson out of contract in the summer, January’s signings only on loan – as are summer arrivals Josh Murphy of Newcastle United and Hamburg’s David Bates – plus Keiren Westwood and Jordan Rhodes frozen out along with Hutchinson and Bates, there will be a summer rebuild come what may at Sheffield Wednesday.

More immediately, there is a season to complete, and the authorities and Championship clubs are keen for that to happen as and when the restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are lifted. April 30 has been set as the earliest possible date for a resumption of English professional football, though this is only an aspiration, and quite probably an optimistic one at that.

Given the negative cycle his old club was trapped in, Wilson thinks the break has not come at a bad time.

“Teams that are losing games want a break, and teams that are doing well don’t,” he reasoned.

“While nobody wanted it to happen like this, I’m sure it will do them the power of good to get that break, and if they are able to come back with the threat of a points deduction or whatever no longer over them, that will be even better.”

As well as coming into the club in September after the summer transfer window shut, manager Garry Monk was unable to bring any backroom staff to Hillsborough, but Wilson thinks he can have no complaints with the calibre of coaches around him.

“The backroom staff are good lads,” said Wilson, who also managed Barnsley and Sheffield Unted. “There’s great experience in there with the likes of (assistant manager) Lee Bullen and (under-23 manager) Neil Thompson.

“When he came to the club, Garry Monk will have known the restrictions he was going to be under and agreed to them, so he won’t be moaning about it.

“I certainly wouldn’t knock the staff he has there already. People like Lee Bullen have helped the club through some difficult times and will be great for him to have around. If Garry can add to that staff and squad in the summer, so much the better.”