Opinion: Stuart Gray’s Sheffield Wednesday sacking is wrong

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New pitch, new scoreboard, new owners, money. Everything about Sheffield Wednesday in the weeks since the season ended has been a positive.

But a new manager? Less so.

Gone..Stuart Gray

Gone..Stuart Gray

Stuart Gray’s sacking is an arguably undeserved bolt from the blue-and-white, and as a long-time Owls fan, I believe the man should have been given the chance to prove his credentials with tuna magnate Dejphon Chansiri’s cash.

This is a man who took over at Hillsborough at a time the club was doomed to yo-yoing between the Championship and League One, forever flirting with relegation.

Of the last ten seasons, three were in League One and seven in the Championship, and five of the seven Championship finishes were 16th or lower.

Brought to the club by former boss Dave Jones, he took charge in 2013 after Jones managed just one win in the club’s first 16 games.

He then led the Owls onto a run of 11 games unbeaten, pulling off a relegation escape. The time since then has been a slow, positive improvement.

This year, 2014-15, Gray’s first full season in charge: 13th, after selling Michail Antonio early doors.

The season had its ups and downs: a 7-0 cup thumping by Manchester City, and a poor 4-0 away loss at relative strugglers Fulham.

Taken in isolation, a jump from 16th to 13th doesn’t look inspiring. But the Owls - for all their struggles in front of goal this year - were never in any real relegation danger.

Much has been made of the goal drought, especially at home on the uneven, uninspiring turf that Wednesday called their pitch this season.

Atdhe Nuhiu has been regularly lambasted - he was joint top scorer with Chris Maguire on 8, followed by Scottish struggler Stevie May, on 7.

Wednesday scored 43 goals this season, which puts the club 21st out of 24.

But look at the other end: thanks in no small part to the likes of Tom Lees and Kieren Westwood, the team conceded 49 times - the 4th best in the division.

In 2013-14, the Owls conceded 65 times, the year before 61.

You have to give Gray credit for tightening up the back four and keeping the Owls steady, even if it was at times uninspiring on the pitch.

Gray has been a good manager, if never a glamorous one. A safe pair of hands who would surely have made a good fist of a promotion push with a strong financial backing, a 20-goal striker and a pacy winger or two.

This is the most puzzling thing: Gray has his fair share of nay-sayers, but things were generally on the up and he should have been given a chance.

In fact, The Star ran a poll only this morning in which the majority of fans backed Gray to stay in the job.

It can only be assumed the club’s new owners have an ace up their sleeves, a top-drawer new boss in hand like Sam Allardyce or Gus Poyet.

Thanks, Stuart, for steering the good ship Wednesday through some rough seas. Let’s just hope Mr Chansiri’s plan isn’t a fishy one.

*What do you make of Stuart Gray’s sacking? Let us know in the comments below or tweet @TheStarSport

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