In the context of English football's biggest takeover saga, at Liverpool, £2m would represent no more than petty cash. Where Sheffield Wednesday are concerned, it is a sum, according to the League One club's chairman and former manager Howard Wilkinson, which heralds a "long, prosperous future".
Wednesday, who were a Premier League team 10 years ago, lie fifth in the third tier following a somewhat fortuitous victory over lowly Leyton Orient, secured with a header by Lewis Buxton from a training-ground set piece soon after the half-time whistle had been greeted by booing. Yet events on the pitch were overshadowed by developments off it, with Wilkinson confident that a takeover by the club's preferred investors would follow their gesture of a £2m payment to meet a £600,000 tax bill and stave off the threat of a winding-up order by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs that is due to be heard in the High Court next month.
The money, which is expected to reach Wednesday's bank account this morning, has been wired by the consortium understood to be fronted by another one-time Owls manager, Chris Turner. The club's debts reportedly total £27m but Wilkinson said: "Clearly, a cash commitment of £2m, before a deal is done and with no guarantees, shows a huge commitment by the people involved. It also shows they care. They had no need to do it but they felt the instability and uncertainty around the place were not good for the club."
Alan Irvine, the Wednesday manager, hoped an immediate effect of the investment would be a lifting of the transfer embargo which prevents them exploiting the loan market. The team suffered four consecutive defeats when the possibility of the club entering administration – and taking a 10-point hit – first emerged.
"The problems off the pitch did coincide with results going wrong," Irvine reflected, although he declined to make the crisis an excuse. The Scot felt the cash injection would bring "stability" after some "fairly uncertain times". That impasse has bred nervousness among Wednesdayites, who might have been expected to turn out in greater numbers to mark a new dawn.
Sheffield Wednesday 4-4-2: Weaver; Otsemobor, Purse, Buxton, Spurr; Miller, Potter, O'Connor, Teale; Tudgay, Morrison (Mellor, 77). Substitutes not used: Jameson (gk), Hinds, Jones, Johnson, Sedgwick, Heffernan.
Leyton Orient 4-5-1: Butcher; Omosuzi, Forbes, Chorley, Daniels; Revell (Walker, 71), Chambers, Spring, Dawson, Cox (Tehue, 88); McGleish. Substitutes not used: Lovelock (gk), Mike, Brown, Smith, Jarvis.
Man of the match Spring.
Possession Sheff Wed 57% Leyton Orient 43%.
Shots on target Sheff Wed 6 Leyton Orient 7.
Referee G Eltringham (Tyne & Wear). Attendance 17,445. Match rating 4/10.Reuse content