How following charismatic Carlos Carvalhal went from being a help to a hindrance for sacked Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay

When genial Jos Luhukay rocked up at Hillsborough at the beginning of this year, he was everything his predecessor wasn't.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 21st December 2018, 11:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 3:57 pm
Owls Manager Jos Luhukay.....Pic Steve Ellis
Owls Manager Jos Luhukay.....Pic Steve Ellis

Carlos Carvalhal - the players' friend, handsome, sharp-suited, charismatic, animated and oozing Mediterranean charm - had taken his bag of bizarre analogies to Swansea after a turbulent last few months at S6.

Some Owls fans had become a little fed up with the 'shtick' and of course the poor performances in the latter part of what had been before last season a memorable reign.

Owls Manager Jos Luhukay.....Pic Steve Ellis

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Carvalhal made headlines and there were times it felt like the circus was in town.

The Portuguese's time in charge had been an exhaustive rollercoaster ride, pulling fans in every direction with so many highs and some desperate lows.

A lot of those supporters would have been glad of a bit of stability. A calming of the waters.

Enter Luhukay.

Carlos Carvalhal on the sidelines as Sheffield Wednesday head coach

Unassuming, in the public eye the Dutchman was laid back, quietly spoken, somewhat small in stature, dressed like your dad and with your old man's moustache from 1987 to go along with it. Perhaps also like your dad, he apparently took no nonsense, bringing with him a reputation from his time in management in Germany as a well-organised disciplinarian.

The change in management was a bit like spending an entire hedonistic summer in Ibiza and being glad to get home to a bit of comfort and security.

At first Luhukay's arrival was just the tonic. He settled the team and made them hard to beat and though there was a bit of a wobble, they staved off relegation and would end up finishing the campaign on a high which offered great hope for the new season.

Luhukay's manner was welcome at the time. His grasp of English wasn't great so he couldn't garnish press conferences with speeches relating to 'meat on the fire' or crumpled £20 notes even if he wanted to. That was probably for the best.

An animated former Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal

Without wishing to be disparaging, quite simply, he was a wee bit boring.

Not always '¦Â he changed noticably the day Wednesday ensured they wouldn't be relegated with a positive result at Hull City. And he went on to make a joke about Jack Hunt having taken the ball full whack in his nether regions. '˜It's not happening tonight, Mrs Hunt'

Having ridden that earlier rollercoaster, with results going well, fans will have been happy with the sense of calm.

The results and performances, though, are crucial. You can get away with anything when it's going well. Once that goes, then personality traits are picked at.

Former head coach Carlos Carvalhal

So while Carvalhal was windmill-esque on the sidelines and bristling with continental passion, Luhukay appeared as though he was spending a long afternoon in an Amsterdam coffee shop.

It shouldn't matter but, for many, especially here in England, apparently it does.

Look how Jurgen Klopp is lapped up with his demeanour in the technical area.

We British just love someone who acts like we do in the stands. Ranting and raving, chest-beating, arm-waving, vein-popping, red-faced screaming.

So when defeat followed defeat, followed defeat, that previously appreciated laid-back approach had become something with which to beat Luhukay. 

Rightly or wrongly '“ and certainly not all but many '“ fans wanted to see someone constantly up off their seat, shouting at players, berating fourth officials.

Owls boss Jos Luhukay, right, and assistant Remy Reynierse.

Our game on these shores may now be influenced by global cultures but we still love a big tackle and we still love a manager who looks like he's going to lose the rag at any given moment.

It's an entirely wrong approach - it makes no difference how a manager conducts himself on the sidelines but it's all about perception. Sitting back while the team crumbles in front of you gives the impression that you couldn't care less, even if that is obviously not the case.

Of course, that's not why Luhukay was sacked on Friday night. Terrible performances, poor results and bewildering team selection sent him packing back across the sea.

But at least whoever the new man may be knows that a bit of fist-pumping and a minor scrap with an assistant referee will keep fans off your back for a while anyway. 

Maybe it had bought Carvalhal an extra few weeks.