I resisted the temptation to tweet my thoughts on our performance against Birmingham at the weekend, as I wanted to take a little more time to reflect. I could also sense that my views differed from many who were posting comments.
The news prior to kick off that we were not playing with a recognised striker did concern me; however it seems to be an increasing trend in the game. When Mourinho did it, there were all sorts of theories about sending a message to the owner about what the team needed. Is that what Mr Jones was thinking? Some might say he wasn’t thinking.
The game itself was terrible. We were thoroughly out played by a team I would consider at our level. Jesse Lingard showed why he is on the Champions’ payroll. It was a performance to instantly forget. I’ve seen worse performances over the years. Everyone is desperate for us to sign a striker. Who knows what is going on behind the scenes? A takeover may well be imminent, but I think we need to hear from Milan Mandaric in the current situation.
My worst fears for the season have come to fruition. A poor start has led to unrest and calls for the manager’s head. It feels like we are in turmoil, without a win and hovering above the relegation zone. It’s important to remember it’s early in the season and we had a similar run last year. I suppose it’s a positive that there have been three worse teams so far and we don’t sit in a worse position, but given Yeovil’s performance at Hillsborough recently, you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who went to that game saying we were the better team. I can’t see Bolton sitting bottom of the table for long either; however look at Wolves last season.
To be honest, I find it hard to argue against the anti-Dave Jones brigade at the moment. Other than my opinion that managers should be given time and sacking the manager is not always the answer, there are so many things that we can question of him. We all have a right to our views, and I can understand why people think a change in manger will help. It may help us in the short term, but our instability as a club will continue. He would add to a long line of managers we have sacked. I can’t think of a manager since Ron Atkinson in 1991 that left rather than being sacked. I wonder whether we could afford to pay Jones off and I don’t think he will get the boot. Famous last words?
The thing is, it is right to question the manager when a team is struggling. It is right to ask why we haven’t brought in a striker when everyone can see it should be our priority area of recruitment. I would question why we have re-signed out of contract players then tried to send them out on loan. As fans that put hard earned money into the club, we want to know what’s happening.
The point I would like to stress is that you can ask all those questions, and we might not like the answers, but does that always mean we need to change the manager. Whoever is in charge, an element of the support would be sceptical. Some fans would welcome Gary Megson back with open arms. I personally wouldn’t. I speak to other fans and we all have a range of views, it’s one of the beauties of the game we love.
I do think we should be asking more questions of the players. They have lapsed during games and it has cost us. Some players have underperformed and we need that to change. Birmingham aside, it has been fine margins in our results and this is something else we should take into consideration.
One thing that really worries me is that some fans think Paolo Di Canio is the answer. His histrionics whilst managing both Sunderland and Swindon Town are enough reason not to want him. Personally, I remember traveling to Middlesbrough the week after he pushed Paul Alcock. I along with our travelling fans sang his name as we were battered 4-0. He told us he would be back when his ban ended on Boxing Day. He wasn’t. You can argue the club didn’t back him but you can’t say for a second that the fans didn’t support him. We were the ones who were let down had to sit through a drab 1-0 defeat at home to Leicester City the day we expected his triumphant return. That is not the type of person I want managing my club. He should not be given the same status as past players like Waddle, Hirst, Sheridan and Nilsson at our club.
The next few weeks are going to be very interesting. Will the takeover happen? Will Dave Jones remain our manager? Are we set for another almighty scrap to stay in the division, or can we somehow turn the situation round and edge up the table? Will we ever sign a striker? The soap opera will continue, and we will still continue to support the club. I just hope I can write something positive very soon. We move onto our game against Doncaster who have had the upper hand in our most recent meetings. I just hope that we all get behind the team and make it a positive atmosphere at Hillsborough. We all want the same outcome.
Up the Owls!
Written by Carl Mullooly, We Are Going Up’s Sheffield Wednesday blogger
Carl tweets at @MulOwl