HINDSIGHT is a wonderful thing.
On Thursday March 15, this football writer tipped Charlton Athletic to finish first in League One, Sheffield United to secure the second automatic promotion spot and stated Sheffield Wednesday, Milton Keynes Dons, Huddersfield Town and Notts County would come third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the division respectively.
It turns out I don’t have Mystic Meg’s psychic talents as I got just one out of my six predictions correct! Charlton claimed the championship.
Full credit to Wednesday for edging out United in the race for second. The verbal abuse I have received from Wednesdayites in the office and on Twitter since has been relentless.
But the truth is no-one in the football fraternity could have predicted the impact Dave Jones was going to make at Hillsborough. Jones has done a remarkable job. He took over after the Steel City derby in February, changed their style of play and kept the feelgood factor going. The results the club have recorded under Jones’ stewardship has vindicated Owls chairman Milan Mandaric’s controversial decision to axe Gary Megson.
I simply did not believe Jones had enough matches to turn around Wednesday’s fortunes and that United would let slip such a healthy advantage. But Wednesday kept on applying the pressure and United, minus the prolific Ched Evans, buckled at the final hurdle.
Mandaric could have ended up looking a right wally had the Owls not gone up, just like Steve McClaren did with his umbrella all those years ago when in charge of the national team, but his tough call to dispense with Megson and bring in Jones ultimately paid off.
If Mandaric and Jones steer the club to back-to-back promotions, statues ought to be built in their honour outside the ground. There is much work to be done over the summer to turn Wednesday into credible promotion contenders.
The mobile phone will be glued to Jones’ ear between now and the end of August as he scours the transfer market looking to strengthen his squad. In my humble opinion, they are short in a number of areas, especially up front.
When asked by a colleague the other day who I believe will join Wednesday in the Championship, I replied: “Haven’t got a blooming clue! I will leave that one to the experts!”