HE’S a study in touchline torment.
David Jones’ Mancini-esque moment of vulnerability is captured and framed like a medieval icon looking on-high for inspiration.
Boy does he need it.
His Sheffield Wednesday team came unstuck again against fellow strugglers Bristol City at Hillsborough on Saturday.
Another watershed occasion, another chance missed to stop the rot.
2-1 up with 12 minutes to go is a very nervy position for a club in trouble.
The tragedy is that Wednesday actually did enough to earn a point but literally talked themselves out of it when Miguel Llera overdid the penalty claims to distract referee Andre Mariner from the action and forced him to rule-out what would have been Gary Madine’s last-gasp equaliser.
Sort of a shooting-themselves-in-the-foot-in-mouth moment. And it’s not the first incident of indiscipline in a season that’s rapidly running away with Dave Jones. There was an alleged confrontation between Bothroyd and Taylor on the pitch at Burnley and a clash between Jermaine Johnson and Joe Mattock after the defeat by Hull at Hillsborough.
All these things mean nothing when you’re winning. When you’re losing they come to mean a lot.
After six consecutive league defeats Saturday’s game was one, according to pretty much every Owls fan and commentator, that Jones could not afford to lose. But he did, or at least his team did.
Last week this column urged caution, this week that case is so much harder to make.
A home defeat against relegation rivals is never a good thing. In the Owls current position it couldn’t really be worse.
Seven days ago, this column asked fans what they thought a survival season might feel like, what shape such a season might take.
Surely they expected a bleak run or two and an inevitable flirtation with the bottom three? But it also acknowledged that there comes a point when the momentum of failure has to be addressed. Now the fans are becoming resigned to Dave Jones’ doom.
As one lifelong Wednesdayite put it: “Alan Irvine went on about his coaching badges and Jones goes on about his win record of 14 on the way to promotion last year. But they are all in the past. They won’t keep us up this season, something has to change.”
Now they’re talking about Jones’ apparent aloofness when he spoke of his relationship with the club in a radio interview. Until yesterday’s interview in The Star they’ve been hearing ‘you’ and ‘they’ instead of ‘we’ when he dissects the problems of the club and the team. They contrast that with Gary Megson’s Wednesdayite credentials and whisper to each other that if the club is still paying their last manager off they might as well get their moneysworth and have him back.
Whether the manner of Megson’s parting with chairman Milan Mandaric would allow that reunion is hard to know. Mandaric doesn’t like failure, he’s proved that in the past. In yesterday’s Star, Jones bemoaned his and his team’s luck as the fates appeared to conspire against them again. But whether he’s looking to the heavens or the more earthly and immediate authority of the Directors’ Box for inspiration, Jones had better hope someone up there actually DOES like him or his Sheffield Wednesday martyrdom is assured.