Megson: Fan of the people

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GARY Megson says that the fastest he moves is on home match days when he hurries to the Hillsborough touchline for the playing of the Owls anthem, “Hi ho Sheffield Wednesday.”

He sings it with the rest of the fans. For he is one of them.

“They are the reason I took this job,” says the 52-year-old who is proud to have supported, played for and now managed HIS club.

“I love the singing before the game; I always have.”

It is a big contrast to his previous job when he was unpopular among some Bolton supporters.

“I can’t thank our fans enough for the support they have given me here,” he says.

“I love bringing new players to the club and telling them all about the fans - it’s dead easy to support Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, those sort of teams; ours have give phenomenal backing to a club who have done nothing for years. They’re the salt of the earth. That’s why I’m here.

“Finance was never an issue when I came here. I obviously know what I earn but I’ve still never opened my contract. I only came because I’m a Wednesday fan and I want to help.”

In fact it leaked out at the time of his arrival that he could earlier have gone to Ipswich on twice his Hillsborough salary.

He is now the third longest serving of Milan Mandaric’s 15 managers, behind Harry Redknapp and Nigel Pearson.

“I always wanted to do this job and I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity,” he says. “If it all ended tomorrow, I’d still feel the same.

“In my view, I should have been given the job years ago. I would have kicked against some of the things that happened here on and off the field. This club should never have been allowed to slide as it did.”

Megson ticks off his thoughts on the past year: “Gates are up 12 per cent. I feel the squad is much more talented, focused and determined, and therefore better, yet the wage bill is more or less the same. That’s something I’m pleased with. We have 18 points more than when I arrived after the same number of games.

“There seems to be a lot more enthusiasm among the supporters - that’s not because of me, it’s because of the way the club is. Hopefully it bottomed out and we can kick on now.

“We’re making progress. We haven’t changed a huge amount. We’ve had to focus first on making the first team better; we’ve only scratched the surface on all the things that need to be done.

“What we do have are fantastic people working here, people who have held the club together when it was really struggling. Everybody owes a huge debt to them. They’re all Wednesdayites and the stuff they do is beyond the call of duty.”

Megson also believes that he has a whole-hearted bunch of players, and that Howard Wilkinson should be recognised in some way: “I’m one of the few people to have supported, played for and managed the club. Chris Turner did it; Howard has been a really successful manager and has played for, supported and chaired the club.

“We should really be doing something to recognise that.”