Chansiri has Owls chipper, but Carvalhal appointment remains his finest moment

Thumbs up for Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal from owner Dejphon Chansiri
Thumbs up for Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal from owner Dejphon Chansiri
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A year already and most of it has passed in a blur. That’s because Sheffield Wednesday has known little to match the impact – so far – of a wealthy gentleman from Thailand. And it’s not even a year really – most of the action has been squeezed into the almost daily drama of the last six months.

Owls fans have good cause to agree with the old saying that time flies when you are enjoying yourself. This period has generated the biggest surge of optimism since the early reigns of Howard Wilkinson, Ron Atkinson and Trevor Francis.

That statement has to be as good a way as any to celebrate the first anniversary at the helm of an entrepreneur whose family owns the Thai Union Frozen Group.

Even allowing for the anticipation surrounding his £37.5m buy-out from Milan Mandaric, Dejphon Chansiri has probably exceeded expectation at this stage, certainly mine.

His pledges to entertain the crowd and improve the quality of the team have been delivered in some style; there is a clear, on-going commitment to return Wednesday to the Premier League as per his two-year initial target.

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by Pete McKee

by Pete McKee

But what I like best, albeit in retrospect, is his choice of manager, or head coach.

Chansiri could easily have curried favour from supporters with a name appointment and he could certainly have afforded a big one. Instead, he was brave enough and single-minded enough to do the difficult thing, to go his own way.

Carlos Carvalhal now stands as an embodiment of the fact that some of the most inspirational choices can be the most unlikely and unconventional.

But what impresses me also is that Chansiri has been flexible enough to move back closer towards English convention on management structure.

Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri

Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri

Early last summer this column posted a friendly warning about the destabilising dangers of investing too much power in sporting directors over managers amid rumours that the new chairman was looking to install one.

He then shocked everybody by unveiling a “sporting director by committee” into which four outsiders were recruited, all of whom have subsequently departed.

The disbandment of the committee says resoundingly that this was a mistake. But the important thing is that Chansiri , clearly a ruthless operator for all his amenable nature, was prepared to think again. The role of the team boss has become more in line with what I urged when I wrote that article back in early summer.

It seemed apparent at the outset of his reign that Carvalhal had very little control over transfers and certainly there was friction with at least one committee member. Now it is just as obvious that he has the major say.

Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal and owner Dejhon Chansiri

Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal and owner Dejhon Chansiri

As I understand it, the process works like this; a list of targets for a position is put together, doubtless with Carvalhal’s input, and he vets them ahead of any bids. The negotiations are outside his control, as they are commonly everywhere.

Overall, it is back to something like a traditional English model with Chansiri, quite rightly as the financier, having the last word.

On this there is a wider operational gap to fill with Paul Bell having left and Paul Aldridge in the process of doing so.

The time difference with Thailand comes into play when urgent decisions have to be made. But in general the Chansiri reign makes perfect sense and he can be justly proud of his first year.

Dejphon Chansiri with Carlos Carvalhal on the Owls head coach's official unveiling

Dejphon Chansiri with Carlos Carvalhal on the Owls head coach's official unveiling