Thursday, 17 April 2014

Cherry Chimes has a long conversation with Owls Alive!

Match Preview
AFCB v Sheffield Wednesday
Blogger Interview - Owls Alive!

Cherry Chimes tries to find out what Steve Beastie one of the writers on Owls Alive thinks about his team's performance this season and what needs to change to make Wednesday turn from something 'flakey' to a leading force in the Championship. I was worried that he may say they needed Eddie Howe, but even Steve believes Eddie's spiritual home is at Dean Court and that he has already done a magnificent job for our club.

CC: Is mid-table satisfactory for Wednesday this season or was it a poor season?

OA: It really feels like a poor season...I know that sounds poor when we've struggled for so long and quite a while now we've all said, 'we'd take mid-table obscurity in the Championship any year' but when it arrives it ain't all it's cracked up to be and it feels like a very dull season. Someone once said, I think was the sage David Pleat, football is only exciting when you're playing for something, either at the top OR bottom of the table and far be it for me to agree with Pleatipus, he was right.

One thing is for sure...I'm don't think I can take another dull season like this so I, and other Wednesday fans, are expecting more next season.

CC: You beat team like Leeds, QPR and Wigan this season so do you see plenty of potential in the team?

OA: We didn't beat fact we're one of the few teams that CAN'T beat's annoying watching everyone else beat them and seeing us play well but not come away with points against them.

CC: Right researcher - you're sacked! Or was Wigan put in deliberately to try and catch Steve out? 

OA: I think you may have meant Reading...who used to be a bogey team for us...not anymore :-) We've deserved those wins too....despite what Joey Barton said on Twitter and what's more we deserved to beat them at their on the opening day but couldn't do it and Barton not being given the red card for as clear a penalty as you'll see didn't help.

The win against Leeds was special...their worst defeat since the pharaoh was a lad by all accounts and again, we were good value for that victory and that margin. We were incredible that day and made them look what their fans don't see....a very, very average side at best.

We DO have potential but we've been way too flakey all season. We have a first 11 capable of competing at the top of this division...unfortunately we have no strength in depth so when they're inured, as they have been for large parts of the season, we look as average as everyone else

CC: What have you made of Stuart Gray since taking the helm?

OA: I like him...I think every Wednesday fan likes him. He's one of footys nice blokes and when he speaks, despite being a little on the dull side, talks a lot of sense but he's not making any great strides from when Dave Jones was in charge to be honest.

We play the same way with virtually the same players and even the tactics, subs and timing of subs is the same as Dave Jones used but the vibe about the club is better since he took over and I speak as a fan of Jones in saying that.

Gray's big test is the summer...let's see who he can bring to the club because he will have no excuse next season.

He needs to bring in quality and get them kicking on, certainly into the top 10 and probably top 8 with at least an outside chance of play-offs otherwise he won't see another season with us.

CC: Who would you say has been Wednesday's best player this season?

OA: My idea of players varies greatly from the consensus usually but we all miss Connor Wickham and would love him back next year but that's a pipe dream really....young Liam Palmer, a Wednesday product and 'local' lad has done well and impressed. He's been asked to play at right back when his skills are those of a midfielder...he has played on the wing and centre midfield too but he really got stuck into that right back position and from looking clumsy and out of his depth he has really come on in leaps and bounds and impressed no end. There's no one crosses a ball better than him and I'd put him as one of the best in the division for that.

I think my overall favourite has been Atdhe Nuhiu up front....Me and the Young Un and a few mates have loved the fella from the start. His eagerness, work rate and skill with the ball at his feet is breathtaking at times but it's taken a while for others to warm to him, in fact I've never seen a Wednesday player abused as much as him by his own fans in such a long time...probably ever.

His problem is for all his good qualities he IS a striker and he hasn't been scoring and he's missed some sitters, but he is more than that in my opinion and what he brings to the game others aren't capable of. The Wednesday fans are slowly coming round to him but it's a slow process.

Having said all of that about those two...our player of the season will once again be Chris Kirkland, I'm sure of it...he would be mine anyway. He's the best keeper we've had in decades and his contract is up at the end of this season I believe so we need to make sure he is top of the list of 'must dos'. I dread to think where we would have been without incredible player, a good ambassador and someone who has really enjoyed his time at this club.

CC: Would you say the Owls are about the most inconsistent team in the Championship and can you see reasons for the up and down performances?

OA: As I said earlier, we are definitely flakey, but we are a match for anyone on our day and more than most if we could get our best 11 fit. Some of those injuries, like every other club I suppose, are key to our tickover and they've been at crucial moments in the season.

CC: What did you think about your last match against Nottingham Forest - I thought you were going to do us an even bigger favour?

OA: Yeah so did most Wednesday fans. We haven't won there for absolutely ages and this was our chance but in both games this season they've stolen points from ours they took all three and were never in the chance one goal BANG! Off they go down the M1 with the points tucked up.

They have been punching above their weight for a while now and are one of the worst teams in the division. If they make the play-offs let alone go up, it will be a travesty.

CC: If Stuart Gray has money to spend next summer who would you like to see come into the club?

OA: A big part of our flakeyness has been injuries to our defence and we've had to chop and change it a lot...our second and third string aren't up this level and it shows...we MUST make sure we have a good central paring.

I would make Kirkland top of any list for signings but if you mean who to bring has to be a striker. Another area we've struggled in at times and only really flourished when Matty Fryatt and Connor Wickham were on loan. Our chairman has already said he is going out to get Matty Fryatt at the end of the season. I'm not really sure why you'd make that public so early but it's out there now and I'd love him at our place. Wickham is way out of our budget but maybe Fryatt is around the right price....I'd be all over either of them.

CC: It looked all set up for an FA Cup derby this year but it did not happen so do you miss that fixture or is it just great to be a league above them?

OA: Who would miss 2 weeks of sleepless nights, butterflies and nausea in the run up to the game only for everyone to say they'd take a draw twenty minutes into the game?

I LOVE being a division higher and I would take that for eternity over playing them every season...I am definitely not one who misses them....though I have to say there is absolutely nothing like a derby match victory.

CC: Have you been surprised by Bournemouth's results this season and are there any of our players that you are looking forward to see play?

OA: Not really. As I mentioned last time we spoke, I have a soft spot for Bournemouth and my daughter has one for Eddie Howe.

I love the connection the club has and HAS had with the Cherries fans over the years and the turmoil you've all been through to get here is fantastic.

Eddie Howe is at his spiritual home now and he will always do better here than anywhere else...other managers have done similar haven't they? Graham Taylor at Watford springs to mind...they can go to other places but the connection to their club is so great that they feel more comfortable back there and it brings good things.

Me and the Young Un have been watching with interest in the hope that you get into the play-offs just so Eddie can stick two fingers up at Burnley and the way he was treated there and just to show that he CAN do it and he IS a good manager.

CC: What is your score prediction for the match?

OA: Blimey it could be anything at all knowing us...6-0 to us...6-0 to you...or a 3-3 draw...I'd be surprised if it was dull but go on then, I'll stick my very ample neck out...2-3

Just know will have a little part of the Wednesday fanbase cheering you into the play-offs no matter what happens and to every single Bournemouth fan that has been on this incredible ride, YOU DESERVE THIS!

More than anyone in any division in this country, you have been through the mill and to the depths of despair with your club through no fault of the fans...if you get there it is your reward, no matter what the results, enjoy the moment!

CC: What a pleasure it is always to have Steve Beastie on Cherry Chimes - I don't think he'll ever convert to being a full Cherry fan but he certainly has a soft spot for Eddie's Barmy Army and it is good to know that Eddie Howe's impact is been felt as far up the motorway as Sheffield! I reckon Wednesday fans get a real treat every week when Steve sits down to write some lines on Owls Alive and I have always found Wednesday fans deeply in love with their football, so it is good to know Steve's passion is never wasted. As for this season it may be one for Wednesday fans not to reflect upon for too long while Bournemouth fans are already joyous no matter what the results of the remaining fixtures. Winning sometimes isn't everything and just to have a club to love is something that AFCB fans hold onto very preciously. It is a huge match on Good Friday and the rewards for AFC Bournemouth are enormous, but we know that Wednesday have some great players and Steve's score prediction says it all really, but I will say it is bound to be another cracking Championship match. Thanks again Steve - catch up on his writings and fellow Wednesday supporters on Owls Alive.

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