OWL’S SPECIAL: Sheffield Wednesday squad’s sorrow over departure of worker Irvine

Plymouth Argyle v Sheffield Wednesday....A dejected looking Owls keeper Nicky Weaver at the final whistle
Plymouth Argyle v Sheffield Wednesday....A dejected looking Owls keeper Nicky Weaver at the final whistle
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SHEFFIELD Wednesday’s players are all sad to see Alan Irvine go, says captain Nicky Weaver.

The experienced keeper says it is unusual for a squad to be so unanimous in their opinion of a departing manager.

Irvine and the players said their farewells to one another at the training ground yesterday.

Weaver said it was a sad day: “There had been rumours about the manager for the last few weeks. Results haven’t been great. It’s a results business we’re in.

“From the players’ point of view, everyone is really disappointed he’s gone. We understand the reasons why.

“Normally when a manager leaves a club, there are a good few players who are not unhappy because it means they might get a new chance under a new manager.

“This has been different: everybody is disappointed. Everybody thinks he’s a great guy and a good manager. But at the end of the day it’s a results business.

“I don’t think he could have done much more. The players have to take some responsibility. We have not been performing on a consistent basis. It’s all right giving a great performance now and again, but we have not been playing well week in, week out.

“It’s been a sad day. You don’t want to see anybody lose his job. He’s such a nice man. He breathes football. It’s his life.

“He’ll be disappointed. But it’s all about results.

“I don’t think anyone will ever say a bad word about Alan Irvine.

“All the players like him. We wanted to play for him. For whatever reason, it’s just not happened.”

Irvine was told of his fate by Milan Mandaric on Wednesday evening, and the chairman believes that the manager expected the bad news, with the 5-3 defeat at Peterborough on Tuesday having extended the team’s lean run.

The players and Irvine met before the squad trained at Middlewood yesterday morning. Weaver says: “He shook everyone’s hand, wished us all the best and thanked everyone for the effort they had put in. We wished him all the best.”

Assistant manager Rob Kelly and coach Billy Barr took the training session, having been placed in charge until a manager is appointed.

Former skipper Darren Purse, now at Millwall, said: “I’m gutted for Alan. I worked with him for a year and I’ve never known anyone who works as hard as him.

“It’s a shame it hasn’t worked out for him; we started the season really well, but recent results haven’t been good.

“The squad doesn’t deserve just to be in the promotion places in League One, it should be in the Championship.”

Dietmar Hamann has quit as coach with tomorrow’s opponents, MK Dons, to become coach at Leicester.