Happy end to Megson’s long quest

New Owls Manager Gary Megson

New Owls Manager Gary Megson

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THIs was the third time in just over four years that Gary Megson was linked with the Wednesday job - and this time it was his.

The new Owls boss has revealed some of the background of his journey towards becoming Alan Irvine’s successor.

He was interviewed by Dave Allen for the job left vacant by Paul Sturrock in 2006, but Brian Laws got it.

When Laws had been sacked, again Megson was one of the names on fans’ lips.

But he was not really looking for work; the job - to be taken by Irvine - had come at the wrong time, during 14 months on gardening leave from Bolton; that period did not end until December 31, 2010.

Since then he has been in demand: “I turned down one job at a higher level, and was asked about another couple.” He wasn’t interested, and Wednesday are the only club for whom he was ready to drop into League One.

The wages he was offered by the higher-level club were double what he is now getting on his three-and-a-half year contract. He will not name the other club - but it is believed to be Ipswich.

“It’s not about finance,” said the man who has an oil painting of Hillsborough on the wall of his Sheffield home, is the son of Owls legend Don Megson, has the ball from the 1966 FA Cup semi-final triumph against Chelsea at Villa Park, and his dad’s runners-up medal from the final against Everton.

Gary grew up in Stannington and went to Malin Bridge and Myers Grove schools.

A little known fact of his well documented playing and managerial career is that he landed the manager’s job at Portsmouth, after Alan Ball’s departure, but then had to tell Milan Mandaric that he was backing out in the interests of his young family. Tony Pulis got the job instead in 2000.

When Megson and Mandaric did get together, at Leicester, it did not last long: Bolton came calling. “It was an opportunity to work in the Premier League: it was too good to miss,” says Megson.

Mandaric was back in for him this week: “I got a call on Wednesday night,” said Megson, “and was asked would I be available to meet on Thursday. We just went from there. I don’t think they expected me to say no!”

Irvine’s exit and Megson’s arrival had taken place in less than a couple of days. The new man did not have to spend any time doing his homework. “I know the club better than Milan and Paul [Aldridge, vice-chairman].“

Mandaric rates it as one of his quickest appointments: “This is Gary’s club, his community. These are his friends. I’m delighted he’s part of this club.”

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