Alan Biggs' Sheffield Wednesday column: Garry Monk is part of the Hillsborough solution - not the problem

Not sure he needs defending, but here goes.

By Alan Biggs
Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 12:24 pm
Owls boss Garry Monk. Pic Steve Ellis
Owls boss Garry Monk. Pic Steve Ellis

Garry Monk has to be viewed as the start of the solution at Sheffield Wednesday - and not the problem.

When a manager attacks players publicly, as Monk has done lately with rising intensity, alarm bells sound.

It can be the sign of a race that is run, a deflection from where the buck stops.

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Players can sense this and, subconsciously or not, do little or nothing to prevent the axe falling - especially if they are not performing.

But this is far removed from the situation at Hillsborough.

A manager turning on a squad he has put together is another thing entirely.

In Monk’s case, he has worked with what he has inherited.

His first chance of the shake-up he desires will be the summer.

So his criticism of the “culture” in the dressing room has been questioned in some quarters. Isn’t it Monk’s job to set it? After all, he’s just completing five months in the job.

Well, yes and no.

He started by spreading encouragement all round, prepared to use and judge every senior player.

If his patience has worn thin, it is because certain ones have not taken their chance.

But I suspect he knew the job required from the very start; performances only confirming it. So he is in a position of relative strength.

Yes, Monk has a responsibility to lay down demands. Well, he has.

A failure to respond consistently has led him to voicing the conclusion, previously shared by many, that this squad is “too comfortable.”

If, when it’s changed, the same accusation is made then we’ll know where to look.

Until then, I maintain the view that the dressing room is in capable hands.

And it’s up to players to respond, as they should want to do anyway with futures on the line and a shop window to attract others.

We’ll never know what might have happened this season under Steve Bruce but let’s not forget there was no inclination from anywhere to judge him on one campaign; a long-term job was foreseen.

So it remains today under the current incumbent, now with signings bearing his stamp in loanees Connor Wickham (Palace) and Josh Windass (Wigan) but with much sorting to be done.

I believe there were efforts to offload a couple of senior players in the window and, although this didn’t happen, Monk’s plans will become more apparent with those offered new terms (Cameron Dawson and Morgan Fox so far).

It’s a beginning, not an end.