TOMORROW marks the end of Sean McAuley’s love affair with Sheffield Wednesday.
After an eventful seven years at Hillsborough, McAuley is emigrating to America to become the assistant head coach to MLS outfit Portland Timbers.
It promises to be an emotional moment as the 40-year-old, who took control of the Owls academy in 2006 and played an instrumental role in it not being ditched prepares to say his fond farewells.
Highly regarded behind the scenes at Wednesday, McAuley is likely to be a big miss, having brought through a raft of youthteam players into the senior set up.
McAuley told The Star there have only been 28 matches at first-team level during his spell in charge as academy manager which have not featured homegrown academy talent.
McAuley said he was approached over the Stateside position last
weekend. He represented Timbers during his playing days.
“It was out of the blue but, in football, you never know what is around the corner,” he admitted. “There has been interest shown in me from other clubs in the past and I have not gone but this was an opportunity I could not turn down.
“This is an opportunity to join a club who I believe are one of the strongest in their league and are getting stronger. It was an absolute no-brainer.
“It was a difficult
decision but this opportunity is a great one for me at this stage of my career.”
Described as a “good man” and a “talented coach” by Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric, McAuley twice managed the Wednesday first team on a caretaker basis.
McAuley said: “I had some good success when I was in charge; I remember when we played Newcastle United in front of a full house and it was live on television. We
drew 2-2 but we should have won the game. That was a great occasion, but it pales into significance to the people who work at the club.
“I will miss working with the staff, both at the training ground and the stadium. I have had great support from them and I have taken a huge amount from the managers who have been here and who I worked under.”
McAuley is relishing the prospect of working with senior players on a daily basis.
“It is a completely different challenge and that is the exciting thing,” he added.