Alan Biggs: Wilson will be a dangerous opponent

Alan Bigg Telegraph
Alan Bigg Telegraph

Football managers never have a point to prove. Do they, Danny Wilson?

Or at least they say they don’t. But we know better, don’t we?

Human nature being what it is, there is no more satisfying thing in any walk of life than proving your worth to somebody who doubts you.

At this point we must bring to mind that Wilson has not only managed both Sheffield clubs, he has also been sacked by both of them.

In neither case could the parting be described as amicable.

The only “mutual consent” involved was that the parties agreed to differ – and that would be putting it mildly in the case of a man who is back in dangerously close proximity to the Steel City clubs as the returning boss of neighbours Barnsley.

Not that Wilson made a point of speaking out on either occasion.

That is simply not his style.

It was as recently as a couple of years ago that he finally vented some of his lingering upset at the Hillsborough experience in interviews before the first of that season’s two Sheffield derbies.

As far as I’m aware, Wilson has yet to speak about the sudden events of Bramall Lane during last season’s climax.

But there are times when you don’t have to say anything to get your point across. This was one of those.

The reaction said it all about the crassness of the Blades’ decision to axe Wilson with promotion still in his sights and the ripples can be felt to this day.

It’s probably fair to say Danny was seething throughout the summer after being denied the chance of gaining the reward for doing a job for Sheffield United that, across nearly two seasons, was impressive by any standards.

Wilson is a man of principle who likes to do things properly and judges others accordingly, albeit sometimes a little too severely on occasions.

Rumour has it that he was sacked in a phone call and struggled to gain any kind of explanation for the move to sack him.

If that is right, you can imagine his anger and can only conclude that it would have been justified.

There had also been strong indications during the final weeks of his reign that signings he was encouraged to set up just did not happen for whatever reason.

I mention this not to open old wounds - even if those have fully healed, which I doubt.

It’s to demonstrate that if motivation is any guide then Wilson is a dangerous animal right now and for the foreseeable future.

He will be fired up, that’s for sure.

Not only to keep Barnsley in the Championship but, if possible, leave Wednesday below them.

Mark well this date - Saturday, February 1 when Wilson returns to Hillsborough with the Owls’ relegation rivals.

Of course, it’s 13 and more years since he was dismissed from S6 amid the club’s slide out of the Premier League.

Personally, I have to reflect that he contributed to his demise with some poor signings.

But there seemed to be very little resolution in the support he received from a board chaired at the time by Dave Richards.

Relations were strained to say the least.

Those who see Danny as a happy, chatty chap – which he is most of the time – miss the fiery character lurking underneath, which he showed as an excellent player for both Wednesday and Barnsley.

He’ll keep a dignified silence on any scores he has to settle but they exist all the same and the menace is all the greater for that.

Did Owls decline begin when Wilko was allowed to leave?

Had the pleasure of bumping into Howard Wilkinson last week.

Also the honour of being addressed as “young man” which goes down very well with me these days!

“Ah, but everyone’s younger than me,” said Howard who’s just turned 70.

This, by the way, was before the Wigan wash out - symbolic of an era when Sheffield Wednesday’s whole existence seems to be about keeping their heads above water.

Of course, Howard helped save the club as chairman when the tide was at its height. Something I noticed in our brief chat was the references to “we” and “us.”

It reminds me of Wilko’s agonised reluctance to leave “his” club when, in 1988, he dropped down a division from the top flight and joined Leeds... to “better himself.”

In the words of the Owls chairman of the day. He did and so did Leeds as title winners.

Bert McGee was a good man. But how on earth was that allowed to happen?

Truly a long line of mistakes has led Wednesday to this low watermark.

Talented Jose is Weir’s legacy

The nearest David Weir came to becoming a “Legend of the Lane” was that his unveiling as manager took place in the Sheffield United museum bearing that name. If Weir’s fleeting reign will be remembered for little else, he at least brought Jose Baxter to the club courtesy of his connections with Everton where the youngster began his career. That acquisition was looked on with envy by virtually all League One managers. For a time Baxter, like Weir, lost his way but, with Nigel Clough nurturing his talent, he is showing just why he scored 17 goals for Oldham last season.