Popular coach sacked, “who?!” apparently set to be appointed in his place, signings by “committee” - it’s all too easy to be negative.
But here’s the bottom line at Sheffield Wednesday; Dejphon Chansiri is the owner, he’s paid a lot of money to call the shots and he’s entitled to do it his way. With support.
Carlos Carvalhal? How can you have an opinion on someone you had never heard of previously? Views on the Owls choice of new coach can only be formed remotely.
Let’s see - a 49-year-old who, since 1998, has coached or managed 13 clubs, mostly in his native Portugal (Sporting Lisbon among them) but including Besiktas of Turkey.
Considering he bossed one of those outfits twice (Vitoria Setubal), his tenures have lasted little more than a year on average. Astonishing is not too strong a word. Like I say, easy to be negative, however firm a link with illustrious countryman Jose Mourinho and Chelsea.
Then there is the apparent overlooking of proven operators at Championship level such as Paul Lambert and Gus Poyet.
But it was never going to be a “manager” figure. This highlights just how far Wednesday have broken with tradition. It was always likely to be a left-field appointment given Chansiri’s tendency to spring surprises, a trait revealed here by a member of his family at the very outset.
He won’t look for public affirmation But installing an English coach(es) alongside Carvalhal (Swindon’s Mark Cooper and Owls legend John Sheridan linked) would add appeal and credibility.
As for the unfortunate Stuart Gray, so often it’s the timing that surprises rather than the event itself. In a parallel with Nigel Clough across the city, the danger seemed past. But it did lurk menacingly around the next corner.
Far be it from this column to justify two of the harshest sackings it has known. In many respects, Gray’s was the more brutal in that he had steadied Sheffield Wednesday in turbulent times and richly deserved the chance to set full sail on a flatter sea.
Like Clough, he got well beyond the retained list. Why wait until mid-summer? But it isn’t just about new owners normally equalling new managers.
The argument is that if you think you might be contemplating a change in October then you might as well do it now and get behind a new man. That, of course, means financing him, which you may feel was conspicuously lacking for Gray and could explain the delay on signings.
The writing on the wall was writ so large that I doubt the former head coach was shocked or unduly disappointed; perhaps relieved even to make a clean break with his CV considerably enhanced. And you’d think he conveyed a discomfort with the new recruitment model.
The word “committee” will always be a hard sell in football with its connotations of long-winded debate and potential indecision. But, as pointed out here recently, its supporters will say it gives a club a managerial base that stands firm regardless of the comings and goings of coaches.
Chansiri has presumably picked a man who is familiar and happy with a system that will have been alien to Gray.
We’d all love to know who is advising the Thai tycoon. But you can’t knock a plan before it starts.
Who’d heard of Slavisa Jokanovic and Alex Neil before they won promotion with Watford and Norwich?
Let’s not pre-judge.