I THOUGHT I’d seen it all as a manager but this week has been a bit crazy. Four managers go in a weekend and then on Monday I was having discussions about being the Sheffield Wednesday manager.
Milan Mandaric called me on Monday morning about helping him out at Hillsborough and I said it would be pretty much impossible for me to manage the Owls being a lifelong Sheffield United fan.
But Milan was determined to consider it seriously and he’s someone I’ve got an awful lot of respect for.
I came close to working for him at both Portsmouth and Leicester so it was good of him to call and I agreed I would certainly consider it and we would talk later. If I’m honest when you look at the other candidates I did feel I was the best option to take them to safety.
He’s looking to sell the club and the best way of doing that is by staying in the Championship.
I was flattered though by the people I’d spoken to in the media up in Sheffield who reckoned 65-70 per-cent of Wednesdayites would have accepted me. Not necessarily liked me but would have tolerated if it meant keeping them up.
I was considering it and even spoke to Derek Dooley’s widow Sylvia about it. Derek, of course, worked for both clubs – as Wednesday manager and Blades chairman – and she was very supportive, saying he’d loved that experience.
But when Wednesday had a great win on Tuesday over Leicester with Stuart Gray, who is a good coach, and Lee Bullen, who is Wednesday through and through, Milan heard for himself at close quarters how against it the other Owls fans were.
He was in the city this week for a few days and would have heard a lot of people say why it couldn’t happen so when I spoke to him again on Thursday night we both agreed that it wasn’t right at this moment in time.
We wanted to end all of the speculation for the good of the club so that Stuart and Lee could get on with their job. A lot of people in Sheffield were aware that I would have been prepared to help the Blades again last season when they sacked Danny Wilson and was also around to have helped Chris Morgan in the play-offs but as I’m still awaiting for the phonecall I presume that was a no.
It has given a few people the opportunity to say some nonsense this week. I was once asked a few days before a Steel City derby what would happen if I ever managed Wednesday and said: “I’d buy bad players, get them relegated and get back down to Cornwall.”
Unfortunately a few people have taken this out of context in the last few days. It was said tongue in cheek at a charity luncheon with Kevin Pressman and a couple of other Wednesday players and got a lot of laughs from everyone in the room!
But some people don’t like facts to get in the way of a good story. Incidentally there were over 33,000 at that derby and that’s what the City has to get back to.
I really hope Stuart and Lee take the job on and keep Wednesday up with the Blades joining them back in the Championship.
We need the Steel City derby back on the calendar. The atmosphere at those games is absolutely incredible.
I HAD THREE REDS, TOO
BLACKPOOL’S match with Yeovil brought some memories I would have like to have forgotten back this week.
The Seasiders lost the plot in the final six minutes when they had Kirk Broadfoot, Ricardo Fuller and Gary MacKenzie all sent off in their 1-0 defeat.
I know all too well how their boss Paul Ince was feeling. Back in 2002 my Sheffield United team had three sent off against West Brom and the game was later abandoned as we also had a couple of players come off injured. I was accused of all sorts at the time but one of the lads, Michael Brown, had a hernia operation a couple of days later. It was quite an injury to fake!
There’s not a lot you can do as the boss but Paul won’t have been happy as the game was almost over and they will all have been sorely missed at Derby yesterday.
I suppose it’s difficult to hit them hard after coming back from a five-game stadium ban himself but I’m sure he’s said ‘it’s not what I do but what I say?’ There will have been a fair bit of banter flying around about that on the training ground in the last few days.
NO MORE SACKINGS PLEASE
OBVIOUSLY with me discussing the Wednesday job this week I have been thinking about being a stop gap manager.
You might ask what’s the point for a five-month contract. But that’s about the average life-expectancy for a new manager now!
Look at David Flitcroft, he did a great job of keeping Barnsley up last season and he’s already been sacked. His assistant Micky Mellon has now got a great chance of stepping up like David did when his great mate Keith Hill was sacked but I doubt he will be making too many long-term plans.
David’s sacking was just the start of it though last weekend. I’ve never known so many managers to go so quickly with Dave Jones, Martin Jol and Owen Coyle being sacked from Saturday night to Monday morning. I hope for the sake of every boss across the country this weekend is a bit quieter.
STEVE COTTERILL’S appointment as Bristol City boss might have surprised a few people but I’m pleased he’s got the chance to get back in and they’ve given him a chance to build something with a three-and-a-half year contract.
That’s a big statement of their faith in Steve and I hope it goes well for them. From afar Bristol City is a club I’ve always thought I’d like to manage.
They have a massive fan base with the potential to be even bigger and if they got on a roll anything is possible.
Bristol could easily support a Premier League club and Steve has made it clear that long-term he would like to get back into the top flight.
It’s not impossible to achieve that with City and I hope it goes well.