Sheffield Wednesday have been without a manager since parting ways with Tony Pulis at the end of December, having seen Neil Thompson take caretaker charge.
Things were going swimmingly for Thompson. Before the weekend just gone, he’d guided Sheffield Wednesday to a run of five wins in seven Championship games. But a 4-1 defeat at Millwall has thrust Wednesday back into chaos and doubt.
They’ve dropped back down to 23rd in the Championship with a three-point gap to 21st-place Derby County. Time is rapidly running our for Wednesday as the bottom of the Championship table only looks to be getting closer with managerial candidates coming in and out of contention, and it’s undoubtedly to do with the club hierarchy.
Owner Dejphon Chansiri was publicly shamed for his treatment of Pulis and since, the divide between fan and owner has grown to a climatic level. But Chansiri has his defenders – those on his side remind fans of how Chansiri has funded the club throughout this global pandemic, and of how close he came to achieving Premier League football in the past.
That was under Carlos Carvalhal. The days of him being in charge seem long in the past, with this year marking the fifth since he took Sheffield Wednesday to Wembley. But he and Chansiri had something that his successors didn’t – a relationship.
— Alan Biggs (@AlanBiggs1) January 6, 2021
Whoever the next manager is that comes in is going to be walking into an already contested position. Chansiri despite all the incoming criticism he’s received from fans does not look set to sell up any time soon, and so the club are set to embark on another promotion-bid under his watch.
Be that promotion from League One or the Championship, Sheffield Wednesday need to move out of what feels like drawn out transitional phase that’s lasted under Garry Monk, Pulis and now Thompson.
Fans have their favoured appointments but it looks increasingly likely that Chansiri will look abroad for his next manager. Why? Because it’s likely a lot cheaper, and because a foreign manager with little-to-no experience of the Championship will be more inclined to say ‘yes’ to Chansiri.
But that’s not all doom and gloom – Carvalhal arrived as an obscure Portuguese boss but left as a modern legend of the club, and his and Chansiri’s relationship was what made all that possible.
As much as Chansiri needs to change his ways, there needs to be an acceptance of what the situation is – he is the owner of Sheffield Wednesday, and as much as fans and pundits want to blast and berate him, that is what’s part of the problem.
The club first needs to find a manager and then get behind him. A ‘yes man’ type manager is what works best under owners like Chansiri and Wednesday fans have a keen example to go off in Carvalhal. But the future is unpredictable, and what might come of Sheffield Wednesday in 2021 is anyone’s guess.