Sheffield Wednesday: What might have been for Carlos Carvalhal's men
It was one of those Sliding Doors moments.
A glimpse of what might have been had circumstance and fortune aligned differently. Huddersfield celebrating a 2-0 lead over Manchester United, Wednesday fans fighting each other in the stand at Derby as their 10-man team headed for another defeat.
But for a fluffed play-off penalty or two it might have been Wednesday first on Saturday’s Match Of The Day and screaming from Sunday’s back pages.
As it is the Owls are mid-Championship with a manager under pressure while Huddersfield boss David Wagner gets the superstar treatment.
In the film Sliding Doors the female lead misses her train and the movie explores parallel lives she might have lead but for that fateful moment.
Wednesdayites seeing the scoreline at half-time from the Kirklees Stadium will have had their own Sliding Doors moment. The civil war among Owls was a handful of hotheads in a strop after their team went a goal and a man down after four minutes.
But it’s not the first time frustrated Wednesday fans have had a go at each other.
The divide was evident at the 1-0 opening day defeat at Preston and has grumbled along here and there since. Now former skipper Carlton Palmer has joined the chorus calling for manager Carlos Carvalhal to go.
Expert and reasonable commentators who see Wednesday most weeks talk of the players still being behind the manager and point to poor refereeing decisions and individual mistakes being at least partly to blame for Wednesday’s recent mediocrity.
They scrapped for him at Derby and looked a decent team with ten men for 85 minutes. So what now?
The outcome of the next two ‘winnable’ home games over a four-day spell will set the tone for Carvalhal and his team going in to November.
Should they fail against Barnsley and Millwall the division within the fan base could become a united force against him.
December is the peak sacking time for Championship managers but if Carlos Carvalhal doesn’t get the Owls on the up soon he might not make it that long.
A couple of wins and a change of fortune however could see Wednesday back in the play-offs places and the vast majority of fans behind their manager.
Those parallel lives are as yet unwritten.
But Carvalhal knows that sliding doors can all too easily become trap-doors for faltering managers at this time of year.