I’m sure you’ve seen the Twitter hashtag First World Problems. Basically, it’s a collection of tweets of people complaining about minor issues that in reality, don’t really matter. Not when compared to what some people have to go through.
If you go on that hashtag now, you can see some examples. There’s someone complaining they have a sore thumb from playing too much Pokémon Go and another who can’t believe they have to turn the whole oven on if they want to heat up a pain au chocolat. You can see what I’m getting at here.
This right now relates to Sheffield Wednesday fans. There’s been quite a bit of anger this summer, first at the match day ticket prices and then at the new kit which goes for pinstripes and not the usual broad stripes. They were a bit overblown but considering how well fans took the Wembley defeat, it was understandable. We needed something to divert our anger too, and we did get something eventually.
However, this week has been a bit more than that. The squad numbers were released and usually this goes by with not much comment, basically just something that can fill a page on the Sheffield Star. This year though, they are a bit odd.
Most of the team’s numbers are outside the first eleven, which is a bit odd but that’s usually reason for excitement as they’ve been left for new signings. No, it’s two particular players with weird numbers that has hit the news. Joe Wildsmith, the reserve goalkeeper, has been given the number two shirt while Steven Fletcher, their new star forward, has been given the number six.
— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) August 3, 2016
And yes, this does deserve some bemusement. Heck, we should laugh at it. And most Wednesday fans have reacted to it like that, having a laugh and saying it’s only something Sheffield Wednesday could do. We gave David Hirst the number five shirt before, I see no reason we can’t do something so odd and weird again.
Yet some have decided that this is the final straw, that deserves so much anger, and that this is an indication that Dejphon Chansiri has gone nuts. #AMF. I’ve seen epic rants which say that this is just another foreign owner disrespecting the fine traditions of the English game and that Chansiri is just another Vincent Tan. Next we’ll be playing in pink and we’ll be called Sheffield Thursday.
Honestly, I got a laugh out of all of these people. Squad numbers are so inconsequential, only really there to make lives easier for commentators and journalists. In the end, it doesn’t matter if Almen Abdi plays in a shirt with the number 7, 77 or even one with an @ symbol followed by his Twitter handle. It won’t affect the football team. Find better things to complain about, like how creme eggs aren’t as big as they used to be.
Yet, complaining about something so minor like squad numbers shows how far we’ve come. It wasn’t that many years ago we had an owner that sued a fans message board and would regularly insult us. I still remember desperately waiting for news from the High Court as we waged a battle to survive. Heck, even after the Milan Mandaric takeover, there was still plenty to complain about. The lack of care from players like Jay Bothroyd, the fact we couldn’t score at home.
And now, we’re in such a good place where we can sign players like Steven Fletcher and Almen Abdi and expect, not hope, to be challenging for promotion where the angriest we can get is that a goalkeeper is now wearing the number two shirt. I suppose it really is the First World Problems of football.