WHERE do you start with the praise for Sheffield Wednesday’s promotion? There are so many people responsible for this success; the whole club, in fact.
Obviously Gary Megson deserves a lot of credit for changing the whole psyche of the place, particularly with regard to the form at home where games were being thrown away. Then you have to give the chairman, Milan Mandaric, huge credit for making one hell of a big decision after the Hillsborough derby victory.
And what about Dave Jones? I don’t think any manager on the planet could have bettered the form he produced in the run-in. It wasn’t an easy position that Dave walked into, far from it. Promotion was expected, putting him under pressure from the start. The fact that a lot of the fans were unsure about the change of manager added to the pressure, so great credit to Dave.
Next I look at the way the players handled the pressure. There were 38,000 fans expecting them to win that last match. Not hoping - as they normally have done in the past - but expecting. The team was pushed to the absolute limit by Sheffield United, so I have nothing but praise for them.
Credit where it’s due. The right mentality had been created and I think Gary Megson was 100% correct when he said in the Telegraph last week that his CV had been enhanced. His belief in the players was proved right, albeit with Dave Jones at the helm. So Gary can be a very proud man and will move on to another good job.
Wednesday are in a great position now. Had they been in the play-offs they’d have missed out on three weeks’ strategy time. That process will be well underway. You have to be ahead of the game and I’m sure Dave will have had a list of names before the season ended. He’s also well educated in the Championship from his experience at that level and will know what’s needed.
How might the Owls fare next season? Well, with the current squad I feel they’d be competitive. I don’t think it needs a massive overhaul, although there will be additions. The key at this stage is the loan players, Danny Batth, Michail Antonio, Nile Ranger and Keith Treacy. Whichever of those goes back will leave a gap to fill.
Up front, Clinton Morrison’s release creates a vacancy. There is fantastic potential in Gary Madine who will relish the challenge. Players can find themselves well suited to the higher level and really flourish. But I would think another striker might be on the radar, not only to replace anyone who leaves but because it would be great to have someone of pedigree at the new level.
@BullenFootball was talking to @AlanBiggs1. Next week: Brian Deane (@deanobri1968)