A manager who’ll go “when the people kick my ass.” A man giddily gleeful to be “on a trapeze without a net.” A chairman who waves away millions of pounds for fun.
Carlos Carvalhal says his job is like “ being in a circus” – and for the right reasons. This is Sheffield Wednesday in 2017, folks.
All the fun of the fair. But what’s really behind it all is another “F” word. Or the lack of it. Fear.
Dejphon Chansiri doesn’t have to be in football. Carvalhal “doesn’t need the money” as a driving force.
The club doesn’t need to sell players and the owner will reject bids well over the odds for those he wants to keep.
While the smile hasn’t always been on Wednesday’s football lately, you can hardly wipe it off the face of supporters who have known mostly misery in the recent past.
And they are right to lap it up.
Because whether the Owls are promoted this season or not, with these attitudes and this momentum there is only one place they are heading.
Forgive me for repeating some points from the “pride and principle” article of a fortnight ago. As a Thai tycoon, Chansiri was an unknown quantity other than the quantity of his bank account.
People are suspicious of the motives of foreign owners and, given so many examples of chaotic and unprincipled management, rightly so. Would Chansiri get all that? Would he do what he said he would do?
And beyond the commitment and ambition, would he protect the club from the excesses of the past?
This column can’t think of a single box that isn’t being ticked.
As he’s entitled to be, Chansiri is as hands on as any club owner I’ve known. Some might call him a dictator. He’s involved in and on top of everything. Employees like to be able to act on their own initiative.
At one stage, vibes picked up from outside caused me to wonder a little about staff morale (among the people you don’t hear or see).
Not any longer.
Chansiri has taken the time and trouble to embrace the whole club in a series of get-togethers, including a staff Christmas party that extended to invitations for car park attendants.
Carvalhal was not being glib when he called Chansiri “the best chairman of my career” on my Sheffield Live TV show last week. And for this reason: “He has principles. Principles are not related with money.
“I know of people with money who don’t have principles. I know a lot of people who are poor and they have big principles. The chairman is a very rich person but he has principles. This makes a big difference and makes it very easy to work with him.”
If this means not selling good players and signing quality, it also signifies not going to extremes on the buying front. It indicates, for instance, that Jordan Rhodes is simply not a viable fee-paying proposition. Not at £10m. I think £5m might be different.
But don’t rule it out just yet. Sam Winnall looks a great acquisition but I fancy Carvalhal is still in the market up front.
Will a fringe striker or two leave, maybe on loan? Will pressure mount on Middlesbrough to accept a loan?
I think it’s telling on Rhodes when Carvalhal says that with “players of big value” it is common to “usually decide everything in the last days” of a transfer window.