Sheffield Wednesday: Owls seek winning smiles

A smiling Jack Charlton pictured on a visit to Hillsborough

A smiling Jack Charlton pictured on a visit to Hillsborough

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I’d begun the week by thinking that Wolves and Barnsley probably would not both lose at home tomorrow and Wednesday would kick off at Peterborough not yet mathematically sure of safety, writes Paul Thompson.

Then Barcelona crash 4-0 at Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund stick four past Real Madrid. So you just never know, whether it’s the Championship or the Champions League.

Would anybody predict with any confidence the results from Peterborough v Wednesday, Wolves v Burnley, Barnsley v Hull, or any of the other matches affecting the bottom end of the table?

Dave Jones is an experienced and laid back character so it has been no surprise to observe that he is relaxed about the whole situation, as you would expect with his team four points clear of the bottom four and having two games left.

There has even been room for humour between him and Milan Mandaric. Jones said the other night: “I told the chairman that I and my wife were going to visit San Franciso; he told me if I don’t keep us in the Championship, I’ll be visiting Alcatraz!”

Mandaric has talked, seriously, about analysing what the club can do to improve next season.

He and Jones get on well, and the chairman has every faith in his manager.

Their rapport was evident at the City of Steel dinner in Hillsborough’s Charlton Suite (see the Milan story on the opposite page).

That room is adorned by pictures of a smiling Big Jack and the halcyon days of his time as manager of the club.

Jack always thought that a laugh and a joke had its place - in between his attempts to get more money out of the board.

He was, and is, a real character, another manager who was highly regarded by directors. I can’t really imagine a chairman trying to tell someone like him what to do.

Mandaric was asked at the dinner whether he was ever tempted to tell his manager which players should be on the field. Never in his life had he done that, he replied. Cue another joke: “If I did, I wouldn’t have the right to fire him if they don’t do the job!”

Ensuring Championship safety is no laughing matter of course, but hopefully there will be an Owls win and cause for smiles this weekend.

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