Alan Biggs: Owls boss Jones loses sack race
THE mistake we all make is trying to understand it - things like double promotion-winning managers keeping their team afloat in the Premier League and then being sacked.
Sometimes there is no rational explanation. How do you make sense of madness?
Not that we can sit altogether smugly in this part of the world, even if the revolving doors at Hillsborough and Bramall Lane have never taken a spin of the sort that flung Nigel Adkins out of Southampton.
Both S2 and S6 has seen too many managers in too short a time over recent years.
Now there are signs at last of some stability. Maybe that wouldn’t survive - dread to think - a failure to win promotion or a relegation.
But at least we can begin to figure it out. Unlike the apparent insanity whereby an egocentric Italian chairman dumps his wonderfully successful (over-popular?) boss in favour of an inexperienced Argentine who needs an interpreter!
Our own Milan Mandaric acquired a bit of a reputation at one stage but he never got close to anything like that.
Speaking of which, arguably the most remarkable aspect of this season’s cull in the Championship is the puzzled gaze upon a club which HASN’T changed its manager.
Yes, Sheffield Wednesday.
Be honest, if you’d been told that the Owls would be fourth bottom in January and that seven Championship chairmen would have wielded the axe by this stage, you’d have had Mandaric in the first few guesses.
Granted, it’s been a close-run thing. If Wednesday hadn’t scraped a win at Oakwell in December then I think Dave Jones would have been gone, and he’s not in the clear yet.
The cynic in me also wonders whether Jones’s seemingly influential appointment of new senior coach Stuart Gray - which would have to have been approved by the chairman even if he did not suggest it - owed something to the fact that the Owls did not have the fall-back of an obvious “caretaker” boss within the backroom team.
But, whatever the reason - whether it is pure faith or partly financial - the fact remains that Mandaric has stuck with Jones.
The chairman is due some credit for that. Logic says he will be rewarded in the long run.
Equally, there is surely no better boss for the long haul at Sheffield United than Danny Wilson. Clearly, the powers that be - if not all the fans - recognise that.
Yet we all know that strands of logic will only stretch so far in football... before they snap.
No Fowl play with Robbie at Owls
Could Robbie Fowler be worth a shot as a surprise answer to Sheffield Wednesday’s goalscoring problems?
They try to tell me transfer windows are fun - so here’s this column’s entry to the Spot the Star at your local training ground competition.
I understand Fowler is currently working out with Owls players at Middlewood Road.
Hang back a minute here; there’s nothing else in the arrangement at this stage.
The former Liverpool and England striker is evidently simply toning up in an attempt to prolong his illustrious career.
Fowler may be one of the top penalty box predators of the modern era - but the Owls link is a long shot.
I hear that, at 37, it is unlikely to lead to a contract.
But the prospect cannot be entirely ruled out bearing in mind Fowler’s friendship with Wednesday boss Dave Jones, his former manager at Cardiff.
Since that stint in Wales he played briefly for Blackburn and had spells in Australia and Thailand, where he also coached a team.
Fowler is clearly chasing the game and not the money, simply wanting to play and having the enthusiasm to do so.
For the Owls it’s a no-lose link either way. It can only be good for the team to have Fowler in their midst at a time when they are struggling for goals.
Let’s remind ourselves here of his 183 goals for Liverpool and his status as the fourth highest scorer in the Premier League.
Hopefully some of that can rub off on the Owls - on or off the field.
Enough heartache for Blades fans
Ask a Sheffield United fan where he wants his team to finish this season and you will get the obvious answer - up to a point. Here’s one reply that got me thinking.
Said one senior Blade, licking away the froth of his first Sunday pint: “I want us to be first or second... or seventh.”
No settling for the play-offs there.
No entertaining of them even - at any price.
Just wondering how many Blades share the view that it’s promotion or bust. No-one - quite understandably - wants to revisit that recurring nightmare.
And you’d be surprised if there weren’t a few inside Bramall Lane privately harbouring similar thoughts.
So the urgency for United to recover automatic promotion form could not be greater.
They have slipped to eight points off the pace.
It’s not insurmountable and most clubs wouldn’t be unhappy about being comfortably inside the promotion “frame” at this stage.
But that obsessive yearning for the top two is colouring the whole atmosphere of the club, adding to the degree of difficulty for Danny Wilson and his players.
Certainly, there’s no room for the “nervousness” that Wilson bemoaned from his his team last weekend.
It’s a steep slope but then nothing ever comes easy at the Lane.
Luis’ reputation takes a dive
How noble of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to lambast Luis Suarez (pictured above) for admitting to diving.
How much better if Rodgers had previously condemned him for actually doing it.
Reminds me of how Roy Keane got clobbered some years ago for hatcheting an opponent - Alf-Inge Haland - in a 2001 Manchester derby.
At the time Keane got just the standard three-match ban for his appalling challenge.
It was only when the former Manchester United captain admitted in his autobiography that it was a pre-meditated revenge mission that he was more suitably punished - with a five-match suspension.
Rodgers only came clean on Suarez after he confessed to diving and called it “unacceptable.”
But that was Suarez being honest. It’s the diving that is dishonest.
So, for that matter, is Liverpool - and nearly all clubs come to that - looking the other way when the real crime occurs and it concerns them.
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Weather for Sheffield
Tuesday 21 May 2013
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