Sheffield Wednesday chief faces journey into the unknown

SHEFFIELD Wednesday were the Championship’s poster boys for over-spending in 2017-18, only Reading committing a higher proportion of their income to player wages.

Owls chief Garry Monk: Plenty to think about. Picture: Steve Ellis

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The Owls have taken advantage of a relaxation of the rules because of covid-19 to delay publishing last season’s financial results.

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Last summer, Wednesday were under a soft transfer embargo, but the financial damage of the pandemic could see greater leniency 12 months on.

“I don’t think any of us know,” admits manager Garry Monk. “This has changed the landscape more than I think probably anyone realises right now.

“There’s so many questions that are unanswered. It’s very difficult to understand.

“Normally you work a plan don’t you? You’ve got your start date and your end date, and you try and work to that date, but because there’s no clear ending to this it’s very difficult for clubs.

“You have governing bodies like the EFL (English Football League) who can provide something in terms of a broader view. If they don’t, then that will be down to each individual club.

“I think it’s a reality check. I think you’d be smart to take out of this what your plan is for the future, maybe be a little bit wiser – this is all clubs I’m talking about – so you know if you ever came to this situation again then you’re not in as difficult a position.”

The heavy spending to try to return the club to the Premier League necessitated some accounting gymnastics, selling Hillsborough to owner Dejphon Chansiri, who leased it back.

That is allowed under “profit and sustainability” rules, but misconduct charges have been laid for how and why they did it.

The Owls have promised to defend themselves against what they see as “unlawful” charges but the potential punishments are wide-ranging and could be severe in a case without precedent.

July has been mentioned as a possible date for the case to be heard, but nothing has been confirmed.

“I have been in regular contact with the club but nothing has been talked about in that sense,” says Monk. “I haven’t heard anything about that.”

In almost every respect, it is a journey into the unknown.

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