Alan Biggs: Sheffield Wednesday chairman's loyalty makes a refreshing change

New author Carlton Palmer's Sheffield Wednesday version of 'It Is What It Is' is that Carlos Carvalhal should be spared further speculation over his future while ever his team are in touch with the play-offs.

Thursday, 5th October 2017, 5:25 am
Owls Dejphon Chansiri......Pic Steve Ellis

It probably goes without saying that chairman Dejphon Chansiri feels exactly the same way.

“That’s refreshing in this day and age,” says the former Owls and England midfielder who was back at Hillsborough to see Wednesday convincingly beat another of his former clubs, Leeds, last Sunday.

Carlton Palmer launches his new book It Is What It Is

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A thrilling 3-0 victory ended – for now – the debate over Carvalhal whose players delivered the big match performance they owed him. In terms of urgency, it actually validated the criticism of some of their previous efforts and set a standard they should rightly be expected to maintain, starting away to Bolton and Derby.

Of present Championship managers, only Mick McCarthy (Ipswich) and Neil Harris (Millwall) have reigned longer at their current clubs than Carvalhal in his third season.

“It’s too easy to sack a manager,” insists Palmer, whose book is typically candid about his own experiences in charge of Stockport and Mansfield.

“Look at the way Steve Bruce is now turning it round at Aston Villa.

Carlton Palmer launches his new book It Is What It Is

“Supporters and chairmen have got to be patient - or you’ll just get managers with short-term vision and a lot of rotation, which is not good for long-term success.”

He views Chansiri’s staunch support of Carvalhal as the right example. Up to a point. Or ten.

“If you get to, say, 10 points off the play-offs then obviously the discussion’s got to be had.

“If you can change the manager and still get in the play-offs you’ve got to do it.”

But the gap currently is only four points and while ever the Owls remain in touch Palmer feels Carvalhal should be secure until next summer.

Not that there aren’t realistic expectations.

“It’s a tough league to get out of but it hasn’t got especially harder,” he reasons. “So Wednesday should be top six again. They proved that against a very good Leeds side.”

However, like many others, he does preach the need for more pace. And something else: “Dare I say it, a Carlton Palmer in the middle of the park?”

He delighted in seeing Kieran Lee typically provide his variety of that box-to-box impact last Sunday – while still hoping, like the rest of us, that the hard-driving Sam Hutchinson launches an injury-free, suspension-free run sometime soon.

Meantime, Palmer’s book is a great filler of an international break; as punchy as you’d expect but with fascinating insights into major managerial figures including Ron Atkinson, Trevor Francis and Howard Wilkinson.

“I didn’t go to any club for the club,” he told me. “I went to Wednesday for Ron and it was the same with Howard at Leeds.”

It was there that Wilko, contrary to his disciplinarian image, ordered a temporarily abstinent and under-performing Palmer to get back on the booze!

It also turns out that some of Carlton’s best Wednesday games, of which there were many, followed a lunchtime pint – and there was often a pre-match brandy lined up for him in the sponsor’s lounge.

Different days but also great days of genuine characters playing football – for its own sake.

n “It Is What It is”: Carlton Palmer with Steven Jacobi, Vertical Editions £17.99