Sheffield Wednesday: Boss Carlos Carvalhal has Owls fans dreaming

Happy Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal
Happy Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal
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The fact that it took just a dozen matches for Carlos Carvalhal to be immortalised in song by Sheffield Wednesday supporters reveals everything about the current mood surrounding the club and its head coach.

‘Carlos Had A Dream’ took hold as the latest Wednesdayite anthem during the 2-1 win at Brentford, belted out particularly after Lucas Joao’s last-gasp winner before spreading like wildfire on social media.

The line which resonates most with supporters is the final one: ‘We’re Sheffield Wednesday, we’re on our way back.’ After 15 years of wishing for a return to the promised land of the Premier League, fans finally feel as though the way back may indeed be ahead.

That factor is the major reason why Carvalhal has quickly become a popular figure.

He rode through an inconsistent start to his tenure to emerge after ten Championship matches as the leader of an ever-improving side.

Supporters sing his name because enough of them believe in him.

That may change over the long seven months ahead but right now Carlos is king.

Given carte blanche over questions during a lengthy interview in Carvalhal’s office at the Owls’ Middlewood Road training ground, the subject of his song cannot be ignored.

“When the game at Brentford finished, I loved the song,” the 49-year-old said with his trademark smile across his face.

“I was feeling like when the soldiers come home from war after winning the war. These kind of songs.

“I thought it was a very nice song but I didn’t understand absolutely anything of what they were singing. I liked it very much and I was clapping to the fans.

“After, when I see the words, I stayed very happy and proud.

“I appreciate the fans who thought of the song and those who are singing. It was amazing.”

READ MORE Carlos Carvalhal on life, football and Sheffield Wednesday

When Carvalhal arrived at Hillsborough in late June as the first foreign coach in Wednesday’s 148-year history, he knew he had work to do.

There was a great deal of scepticism over the appointment of a coach unknown to English football, particularly one whose record of 14 clubs in 14 years offered scant reassurance.

It was clear he had been tipped off about the significance of the ‘M’ word ahead of his first introduction to the media. On that day and over the following few weeks there were more than a few clumsy uses of ‘massive’ from the Portuguese.

That has now largely stopped and it is no coincidence. Carvalhal now feels wanted at the club, comfortable in his position. The need to try to win over supporters with words has waned.

The question is raised of which club he supported as a child. He glosses over the answer, mentioning home-town club Braga and a desire to see all the clubs with which he has been an employee do well.

But then he begins to discuss, in glowing terms, Besiktas, whom he managed in the 2011/12 season. It quickly becomes apparent he went through a very similar journey with supporters of the Turkish side to that which he is currently going through with Wednesdayites.

“One team that created for me a very fantastic environment was Besiktas in Turkey,” he said.

“Besiktas fans created a song for me like in Sheffield Wednesday. They have a lot of things in common.

“Sometimes they created big banners with my face.

“They like me very much. Even today when I go to Turkey or even when I meet a Turkish person. I was in a Turkish restaurant in London this week and the guys started talking to me about Besiktas and how they appreciate me.

“The fans are called the Çarşı. They are more than a group of supporters of Besiktas. They are a group that defending human rights and I identified from the beginning with the Çarşı. I told them I felt like a Çarşı.

“I have a very good emotional connection with Besiktas.

“When I arrive to Besiktas, it was the same as in Sheffield where people did not know me.

“They looked at the past but, in the time, I won confidence with the way we play, the way we win also.

“There are a lot of things in common with Besiktas and Sheffield Wednesday.

“I am sure I will say in the future that Sheffield Wednesday will be in my heart like I am talking about Besiktas right now. I am sure that will happen.”

READ MORE The ‘unbelievable’ moment Carvalhal decided to become a footballer – and a coach

As he prepares to pass the ten-league game milestone, Carvalhal has gradually won confidence at Wednesday. The Owls are looking to extend a run of four successive wins, plus there is the eagerly-anticipated Capital One Cup clash with Arsenal to come - a night when the dream of a Premier League return will only be intensified.

Carvalhal speaks with a great deal of pride about his initial months of the club and with tempered optimism that better times are still ahead.

He said: “When I look back at the three months that we are here, we change a lot of things. The way we play, the quality of the football, the pitch is different also.

“At home we have won three games in the league and two in the cup.

“We put the name of Sheffield Wednesday on the first page of the newspapers and the news, around the world. Because when we beat a team from the Premier League like Newcastle, the name goes around the world.

“We are in the beginning but I am very happy, I’m very proud about the transformation. But I know that when we are playing well and winning, everyone wants more.

“It is why I have said we cannot sleep one minute in the Championship.

“If you slip one minute, you can lose one game and things in football can change very quickly.

“The main thing is the consistent work so maybe we will win more games than we lose. It is normal that we will lose some matches of course but right now we are consistent.

“The people know what the team can do and I think also we can do better.

“There are some people that arrived in the last international break that are improving day by day and all the team is improving.

“Probably we can do better in the future, let us wait and see. But we are in the beginning, as I tell you.

“What we did in the three months, not just me and my players but the fans as well, they can be proud of Sheffield Wednesday.”

That pride helped to deliver THAT song. And as long as the upward trend is maintained, it will continue to be sung.

So, if Carlos was penning his own song about his dream, just what would it be about?

“To try to wake the giant,” he said.

Achieve that, and being immortalised in song will only be the start of it.

For more news from Hillsborough click here