Alan Biggs Sheffield Wednesday column: Lets's not forget that Lee Bullen really is a wised-up Owl
Some fans raised reservations but they were put in the politest possible terms. Among concerns was a legend risking his Hillsborough hero status.
That’s actually a measure of the goodwill Lee Bullen carries into a possible opportunity to be manager of a club that has become his spiritual home.It’s not so sudden, either, except for the shuddering impact of Steve Bruce’s defection for Newcastle, which Bullen has cushioned nicely.The Scot is no coaching novice despite many references to “inexperience” from those questioning his suitability - and that minority of comments dismissing him as “not good enough.”How can anybody possibly make such a judgment? On the other hand, yes, he has only briefly sampled being a boss. And, yes again, there is still the argument that an experienced manager is preferable to fill the biggest of boots in the departed Bruce, which may still be the case.Chris Hughton remains, for me, the ideal man in that category and Bullen, who can’t really look beyond Saturday’s Championship opener at Reading, needs a good start to have a chance of nailing the job.Dealing with any negatives first, anyone who has done the job will tell you management is a world away from coaching. The good guy (as in a coach like Lee) has to be capable of becoming the bad guy occasionally. It’s not a given as a transformation.But the more I think about it, the more it made sense to let Sheffield Wednesday’s trusty caretaker run with it. With the season upon us, he was the only candidate who knew all the players, their strengths and weaknesses.Besides, his record as caretaker ain’t bad you know. Across two spells (midway in each of the past two seasons), it reads;-Played 8 Won 3 Drawn 3 Lost 2. Factor in that he was thrust to the helm of a struggling team in each case. And, in particular, look at the effect he had last season - unbeaten in four games, winning two, smoothing the way to the Bruce regime, which moved things up more than a notch or two.Some supporters have struggled to bury the nightmare of the last game of Bullen’s first spell in charge - a 3-0 home defeat to Burton that left him visibly embarrassed and upset.Maybe he harboured thoughts of a shot at the job had things gone differently, which made the ordeal of that afternoon all the more shattering.But, like all experiences, it will serve the former promotion-winning skipper well in the future.And his influential mini-spell after Jos Luhukay’s sacking last season certainly suggests he is capable of commanding the dressing room and making common sense decisions. Who can write off his claims without a longer proving period? Just because he has been a coach in the background doesn’t mean he is without ambition.Let’s remember that Bullen has worked variously under and adapted to, six different managers during his coaching career - Gary Megson, Dave Jones, Stuart Gray, Carlos Carvalhal, Luhukay and Bruce.He’s survived by being trusted. And it’s not by being a yes man, I can vouch. Also, no-one prizes loyalty more than owner Dejphon Chansiri.The club is lucky to have what some might only see as a ready fall-back option, although I think Bullen is at a career crossroads in that respect - and does need supporting on the staff front after the three-man Bruce exodus.I reckon an older head, either alongside or in a football director role, would be invaluable to both Bullen and the hierarchy itself. There will be other suggestions but one would be Chris Turner, the former Wednesday goalkeeper and manager who signed Bullen as a player.But let’s not forget Bullen is a wised-up Owl. Good luck to him.