Sheffield Wednesday: Why Chris Maguire chose to leave Owls

Chris Maguire
Chris Maguire
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Chris Maguire has revealed why he rejected the chance to sign a new contract at Sheffield Wednesday this summer.

The versatile attacker was one of five Owls players offered fresh terms following the end of the 2014/15 season.

Joe Mattock

Joe Mattock

But, along with goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, Maguire opted to move on, having snubbed their reduced-terms one-year contract.

Several second-tier clubs have been monitoring the 26-year-old’s situation since his decision to end his three-year association with the Championship outfit, including Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers.

However, Maguire decided to remain in South Yorkshire, penning a one-year deal at Rotherham United last Friday.

He is the third former Owls player to join the Millers in pre-season, following in the footsteps of defenders Lewis Buxton and Joe Mattock.

Lewis Buxton

Lewis Buxton

Speaking before his switch to AESSEAL New York Stadium, Maguire told The Star: “I don’t want to go into the ins and outs of it, but the terms were not right.

“The contract offer was not good enough to see myself staying, which was a shame because obviously Sheffield Wednesday are a great club and I would have loved to have stayed.

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“I just felt at that time it wasn’t right for me to sign.

Chris Kirkland

Chris Kirkland

“Other circumstances changed as well. They got rid of their manager and for a long time didn’t have anyone in place. It came to a point where I had to to think about my future.”

Maguire started his career at Aberdeen in 2005, making 131 appearances, hitting 16 goals, before moving south of the border to Derby County in 2011.

After failing to break into the Rams’ first-team set-up, he headed to Hillsborough a year later but was frozen out under Dave Jones.

“The year and a half I didn’t play under Dave was the biggest low,” admitted Maguire.

But, following productive a loan spell at Coventry City, Maguire was recalled by Stuart Gray at the end of 2013.

Just two matches into his comeback, he scored in the Owls’ 2-0 victory over Blackpool on New Year’s Day, and Maguire says that strike was one of his stand-out moments.

“Stuart brought me back in and things took off,” he recalled.

Maguire quickly established himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet. In 79 league outings for Wednesday, he bagged 18 goals.

Capped twice by Scotland, Maguire was mainly deployed by former Owls boss Gray on the flanks last term.

Maguire believes he could have solved Wednesday’s goalscoring woes had he been selected in his preferred position.

“At the end of the day, I am a striker,” he said. “That is my position. People might say I play out wide but that’s where managers have asked me to play.

“They know I am the type of player who will go out there and try my best and give 100% for the team.

“If I was given an opportunity up front with the chances that we created, I know I would have finished the majority of them.

“I am confident in my own ability that I would have finished the chances.

“I have been near the top of the goalscoring charts in the last two seasons despite being played out of position.

“If I had been played through the middle, I might have scored more goals, but we will never know.”

Forty-one days after leading Wednesday to a creditable 13th-placed finish, Gray was given his marching orders. Chairman Dejphon Chansiri’s decision to dispense with Gray’s services stunned Maguire.

“I couldn’t believe it and I don’t think a lot of the boys could either,” said Maguire, who also worked with Gray at Portsmouth. “Stuart did a fabulous job with the resources he had last season.

“He didn’t have money compared to a lot of other teams in the league or as big a budget.

“The home form wasn’t great, but we had a good defence. We didn’t win loads and loads of games but over the course of the season we had a great season.

“It was disappointing to see Stuart leave because he had the respect of everybody.

“There was a great team spirit there. He created that team spirit, and everyone will miss him because he is a good coach and a fair man to speak to, and you could have a laugh with him.

“I think, with the new owner taking over, Stuart should have been given an opportunity to take the club forward.”

He may be preparing to embark on a new chapter in his career, but Maguire reflects fondly on his time at Wednesday.

“As soon as Stuart took over and brought me back in, it was a great club to play for,” he said. “The fans were brilliant with me even when I wasn’t playing.

“They have been really supportive, stuck by me and could see that I was a hard-working player. I enjoyed playing my football in front of them.

“They have always had great support, home and away. I will miss that.”