Sheffield Wednesday: Gray named new Owls boss

Stuart Gray has been appointed Wednesday's new head coach.
Stuart Gray has been appointed Wednesday's new head coach.
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Sheffield Wednesday have tonight confirmed Stuart Gray as the club’s permanent new head coach.

Owls chairman Milan Mandaric made the announcement after the club had secured a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win at Rochdale.

Former Southampton and Northampton boss Gray, who has signed a two-and-a-half year contract, moved up from his first-team role at Hillsborough when placed in temporary charge following the sacking of Dave Jones in early December.

The 53-year-old has steered Wednesday to six wins and four draws in his 12 games in charge, including their biggest-ever win against Yorkshire rivals Leeds earlier this month.

Mandaric, in a statement on the club’s official website, said: “I’m very happy to say that Stuart has been appointed head coach of Sheffield Wednesday.

“When he was initially asked to step in his brief was to get us out of the bottom three, get some wins and clean sheets, and make some tangible progress on the pitch.

“Stuart has achieved all those things, he was given the chance to impress and has taken that chance with both hands.”

Former Portsmouth and Leicester chairman Mandaric outlined his long-term plans for the club, who have been outside the top flight for nearly 14 years. They have also had two spells in the third tier since relegation from the Premier League in 2000.

Mandaric added: “I’m trying to implement a modern type of football management and structure of the club.

“In principle, Stuart’s title allows him to do the same job, he has full power and responsibility, but eventually I would like to introduce a director of football to partner with Stuart and his staff.

“I’m looking at the bigger picture for where this club needs to go and in a modern football environment for the long-term benefit of Sheffield Wednesday.

“This is a big club that needs to go places and this will modernise the structure of the football side.”

Mandaric gave Gray an extended period to try and make the job his own before Christmas after he made public his desire to consider former Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock for the job, only to change his mind following an outcry among Owls supporters.

Gray, who becomes the club’s 10th permanent manager in 13 years and fourth under Mandaric, said: “I am delighted to get the job on a permanent basis.

“This is a football club with a rich heritage and history and I am very proud to become head coach.

“While this is a fantastic honour for me on a personal note, I have to credit the players because they have given everything to get the recent results we have enjoyed.

“It’s not been just the results, though, it’s the manner in which we have won games such as Leeds at Hillsborough in front of the nation on TV, when we were just electric.

“The most important thing is that we have got out of the bottom three, but we’ve also scored goals, we’ve played well and the confidence is back in the team but there’s still a long, long way to go and we want to climb up that league as quickly as possible.”

Lee Bullen, who has assisted Gray, is still waiting for his role to be clarified.