SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Jones goes into defensive mode

Sheffield Wednesday v Watford......Owls manager Dave Jones
Sheffield Wednesday v Watford......Owls manager Dave Jones

In 37 years of football reporting, I have never seen a manager plunge from hero to near-zero in the eyes of some fans quicker than Dave Jones.

It’s why confusion reigns around S6 because, as in all extremes, the truth lies somewhere in between. Which is that, as Jones himself insists, he still has a record most bosses would die for, easily passing the benchmark of accomplishment with a 40 per cent-plus win ratio.

What a dilemma this is for a club that, as he also rightly points out, has had too high a turnover of managers.

But when a chairman feels compelled to make the sort of “stick together” statement Milan Mandaric issued this week, you can only suspect things will move in “one way or another” - the term he used by way of a personal pledge that the Owls will stay up - very rapidly.

And when a manager defends himself at the length Jones did following Tuesday’s 4-1 capitulation to Watford then you know the clock is ticking very loudly indeed. It was effectively a plea for his job, also venturing into the dangerous ground of admitting players are doing the opposite of what they are told.

We have all seen managers go after similar outpourings when it is their team and key signings are seen to flop. Certainly, Wednesday looked a side in deep trouble in a shambolic second half on Tuesday, out of their depth for perhaps the first time.

But Jones sure didn’t sound like a broken or beaten man; he’s a fighter and there’s plenty left.

Also, allowing for the cynical “he’ll be gone in the morning” reaction to Mandaric’s rhetoric, one thing stands out. I simply don’t believe Milan has any appetite, desire or relish for another managerial change, albeit that the current run cannot continue much longer.

He went through hell’s fire to replace Gary Megson with Jones. His belief in Jones as “a good manager” is sincere.

Besides which, it is understood that Megson remains on gardening leave.

Potentially, Mandaric could be carrying the salaries of three managers if the axe falls.

Yet it’s a price he would undoubtedly pay if it was the only way to keep Wednesday in the Championship. The conundrum is that there is a dearth of available managers with a better record than the one they already have.

Barring the most obvious exception of a ginger-haired guy who is kicking his heels! What an irony that is - you simply couldn’t make it up.

And it couldn’t happen. Could it?

But then so many incredible twists and turns have entwined Hillsborough in recent times that you wonder what’s next.

More interesting times await at S6 where, whatever else, it is seldom ever dull.