GARY Megson watched from the sidelines as Wednesday played MK Dons at Hillsborough in the first game after his appointment and he realised that the team he inherited had no chance of promotion.
Seven months later the Owls boss feels that the club have come a long way on and off the field.
A new-look side has begun to shape up promisingly; work on the club’s infrastructure has been carried out by chairman Milan Mandaric, and Megson feels able to talk about some positives.
It is all in contrast to that day in February when he gestured and yelled orders from the Hillsborough touchline - though he was only supposed to have a watching brief and caretaker boss Rob Kelly was in charge.
Megson made two substitutions at half-time, bringing on Neil Mellor and Paul Heffernan, and the Owls drew after being two down.
One of the scorers was Clinton Morrison - who bagged his first league goal since then, at Charlton.
Tomorrow’s visit of MK Dons marks a probable return to the starting line-up for him, with Ryan Lowe ruled out by the ankle sprain he suffered at The Valley.
Morrison’s goal and determination to succeed represents one positive, the Owls’ first away point of the season is among the others.
“There are lots of things that have changed,” says Megson.
“The training ground is a much happier place. I think everyboody, not just the players but the people who work here, enjoys coming to work. We’ve got some fantastic people. It’s humbling when you see the groundsman, Tim, coming in on Bank Holiday though he’s not getting paid.
“In terms of the players we’ve brought in, they’re going to have their ups and downs, but I never feel that they’re not going to put in everything they’ve got every time they play.
“I joined Sheffield Wednesday on February 4 with one thing on my mind then on February 6 that completely changed after I’d seen that game against MK Dons.”
He is talking about the standards and attitudes that he perceived to be at the club - part of conditions that led him to express the view recently that this was the hardest job he has had as a manager.
“There was sloppiness on and off the field, We’ve come a long way since then. We’re making baby steps forward. We have to accept there are things we can’t do because finance is an issue,” he said,
“We need to get Sheffield Wednesday running like a big club. Milan [Mandaric] is perfectly aware of that and is doing his best to facilitate that.”
OWLS (possible) O’Donnell, Buxton, Batth, R Jones, Bennett, Palmer, Semedo, Prutton, Marshall, Madine, Morrison. (4-4-2).
DONS (possible): Martin, Smith, MacKenzie, Williams, Lewington, Potter, Gleeson, Chadwick, Ibehere, Bowditch, McDonald (4-5-1).
Phil Gibbs (W Midlands): He is set for a Sheffield double, having officiated at Sheffield United’s 2-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win at Burton in his last game. Has sent off one player and booked 17 in six games this season.