Sheffield Wednesday: Farewell Carlos and thanks for letting us dream again
I dare say there will have been a tinge of sadness in the hearts of most Wednesdayites when they heard the news coming out of the club on Christmas Eve.
And it will have had little to do with the timing of the announcement of Carlos Carvalhal leaving Hillsborough.
However strong the tide against him grew, the vast majority in their heart of hearts wanted the charismatic Portuguese to succeed.
Even in the fiercely passionate, results-driven world of football, it was incredibly difficult to dislike the man.
He was charm personified and certainly knew how to work a room. Stylish too - he rivalled Liam Gallagher when it came to boosting the sales of certain types of coat. Scarves, not so much.
And those metaphors. My god those metaphors.
He was everything you’d want from a continental manager. The club’s first foreign manager.
Hard to dislike. Easy to love. Liable to frustrate.
I received a text from a Wednesdayite just after the news broke saying: “Feel really sad it never worked out but he had to go and should have gone a long time ago.”
I’d imagine that sums up how most supporters are feeling.
Few people, whether associated with the club or causal observers, will argue with the reasoning behind the decision - though I’m sure plenty will see the festive timing as a little harsh.
It just hasn’t happened for Wednesday this season. And, most importantly, there has been a distinct lack of progress made week in, week out to try to make it happen again.
Carvalhal has been somewhat unfortunate that his first serious struggles as Owls boss came at a time when the mood in the camp was not great due to the calamitous 150th anniversary celebrations.
And he has certainly been unlucky with injuries. But he was also blessed with the finances to build a squad of strong Championship quality and excellent depth.
The beginning of the end for many was that horrendous Steel City derby performance and the insistence on closing ranks afterwards.
Wednesdayites wanted an apt response to show the passion was there and that, however bad that September day was, it could have in fact been a catalyst for the promotion push.
Instead, it looks as though it was a day that derailed both that push and Carvalhal’s reign.
Yet for all that has gone wrong, it isn’t hard to see him being remembered fondly as Wednesday boss - in a similar ilk to the likes of Paul Sturrock and Brian Laws, of recent history.
After all, that first season was an incredible thrill ride - one that awoke the giant that had long lay dormant.
Carvalhal helped everyone to believe the return to the promised land was indeed possible. He authored the dream.
Wednesday were on their way back and they were travelling in style.
So when we look back, we’ll always have the Arsenal game, those two brilliant wins over Newcastle in the league, that first leg against Brighton when Hillsborough bounced as it never had before.
And of course that wonderful, heart-wrenching day at Wembley.
The image of Carvalhal in tears as he clapped the Massive support at the national stadium - who in turn serenaded him despite the lacklustre defeat - will live long in the memory.
It showed there was a special connection.
And while the pragmatic nature of a results-driven business eventually soured the situation, Carvalhal never really lost that connection with the club and its supporters.
Once the dust settles on his tenure, I’d bank on there being a realisation the connection still runs the other way as well.
Farewell then Carlos. Thanks for the memories.
Thanks for getting people dreaming again.