431 days later – The highs and lows of Garry Monk’s tumultuous stay at Sheffield Wednesday

It was confirmed on Monday night that after 431 days in charge, Garry Monk had been fired by Sheffield Wednesday with immediate effect. His coaching staff are also leaving.

Monday, 9th November 2020, 11:03 pm

There were certainly some highs and lows from Monk’s year in charge, with nights like the away win at Elland Road being cancelled out by the demolition job at Brentford prior to lockdown.

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The Highs

December demolition

It feels like an age ago, really… It was December 2019, Wednesday were flying high in the Championship and there was a giddiness flying about after an impressive run of form saw the Owls climbing up the table to the shock of many.

They travelled to Nottingham Forest, Jordan Rhodes got a first half hattrick, and all was well in the world. It was a huge result, and for many was seen as – what they hoped would be – the start of what would be a resurgence for the Owls’ record signing.

Garry Monk has left Sheffield Wednesday after just over a year in charge.

Sitting pretty

That win over Forest was followed by a last-gasp win over Bristol City that took the Owls up to third. Barry Bannan scored from the spot, and it looked like the end of the year was going to be an enjoyable one for Monk and his team.

A late home win over Bristol to combat the December chill. There were scenes. Everything was looking good.

Beating Brighton

It was one of those glorious days in the FA Cup… Wednesday had lost three games in a row in the Championship but were still at the right end of the table.

They were going up against Premier League opposition in Brighton and Hove Albion away from home. Many expected to see the Owls dumped out, but they put on a great show down south and secured a win over top-flight opposition thanks to a single goal from Adam Reach. It was also the night that Osaze Urhoghide announced himself to the world.

Loving it at Leeds

Probably the last truly brilliant day in Monk’s tenure at Wednesday was a mightily impressive win away at Leeds, at Elland Road, as 2020 looked to be getting off to a perfect start.

Jacob Murphy scored in the 87th minute, and there were then limbs everywhere when Atdhe Nuhiu popped up in stoppage time to seal the deal. Wednesday had beaten Marcelo Bielsa’s side, and became the only team in the entire 2019/20 to stop them from scoring against them.

The Lows

Succumbing at Stoke

There were some decent results after it, but it did almost feel like Wednesday crumbled after that afternoon at the Bet365 Stadium on Boxing Day.

Monk’s side were flying, they were winning impressively when playing well and picking up points even when they didn’t, and when Morgan Fox and Tom Lees pulled them back from being 1-0 down at Stoke it looked like they were on track for another three points.

When Tyrese Campbell equalised in the 93rd minute it was a gut punch, but when Sam Vokes bagged a winner in the 97th, it was devastation for Monk and his troops.

The Owls have played 40 games exactly since that game, and they’ve won just 11 of them.

Rolled over by Rovers

Wednesday came crashing down to earth with a bump a week after that huge win against Leeds. A big crash, bang, wallop of a bump as they were hammered 5-0 at home against Blackburn Rovers in a match where Massimo Luongo was (wrongly) sent off in the opening 25 minutes.

The Owls were already 1-0 down by that point, but then it just got gradually worse. Cameron Dawson scored an own goal and then the visitors went on to bag three more to secure an absolute demolition at Hillsborough.

Wednesday have won twice at home since that day. It was in January 2020.

Bashed at Brentford

With uncertainty everywhere amid the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, Monk and his Wednesday side were given an absolute lesson in the club’s final ever trip to Brentford’s Griffin Park back in March.

It was woeful, and Monk has admitted that it was one of the toughest days of his football career.

Not for the first (or last) time in the 2019/20 season, Wednesday conceded five goals, and they looked completely outclassed by a Bees side that were head and shoulders above their lacklustre opposition.

It was Wednesday’s last game for almost four months, and it was a bad one.

Millers meltdown

Looking back now, it could probably be seen as one of the final nails in Monk’s coffin at Hillsborough. Losing to Rotherham in a South Yorkshire derby was always going to be bad, but to get thumped 3-0 by the Millers when they’re seen as potential relegation candidates will have been hard to take.

There was a drone, a major injury, a red card and three goals for the hosts as they picked up their biggest ever win over their Yorkshire rivals. It came just after a below par defeat to Luton and a record first Championship win for Wycombe Wanderers, and Monk admitted afterwards that it simple wasn’t good enough.

Now, just over a week later, his tenure at S6 is over and the Owls are back on the hunt for a new manager.

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