Alan Biggs at Large: 'There is more than a little of Gareth Southgate in Sheffield Wednesday's Darren Moore'

It’s been said in other places but I want to amplify it. There is more than a little of Gareth Southgate in the way Darren Moore conducts himself as a football manager.

By Alan Biggs
Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 6:42 pm
Owls manager Darren Moore on the touch line   Pic Steve Ellis
Owls manager Darren Moore on the touch line Pic Steve Ellis

Sheffield Wednesday is a club that has been looked down on, for many reasons largely self-inflicted. At least now it has someone who can be looked up to.

A direct comparison with Southgate would be foolish obviously in that one has just finished an acclaimed runner up on Europe’s top stage and the other is planning for a domestic third tier.

But, at a time when leaders in public office stand accused of being morally bankrupt, the values Southgate and his England players projected in Euro 2020 transcended football.

And while I don’t know Southgate, or Moore particularly either with Covid having dictated a somewhat distant view so far, I don’t need to. We absolutely know what they stand for and there is a similarity in that regard.

Treating people properly, taking a positive over a negative, shouldering responsibility and not throwing individuals under the proverbial bus.

Neither is soft. They were both centre backs, for crying out loud. Moore, especially, took no prisoners.

However, fairness is important to engender goodwill. And ask yourself why players, supporters, media, the entire country got behind England at the Euros.

It wasn’t because people necessarily backed Southgate’s selections, his style, his choices. It was because he ended a siege mentality in the England camp, stopped people delighting in sniping at it, and brought everyone together.

I think Moore’s approach can do that on a relative scale at Hillsborough. Players enjoy working for him, supporters like his honesty and humility.

That said, no-one takes a nice guy over a winner in the cut-throat world of professional football. Sir Alex Ferguson would not be canonised for all his qualities as a human being.

But Wednesday is a club that needs to regain respectability as much as it needs results on the field right now; it is lucky to have a respected and likeable figure at the helm after much justified bad press.

It’s not quite as simple as results by whatever means when a hole has been dug this deep. You might still take them but the credibility of the place in terms of right and wrong is also on the line.

Being inclusive is important; creating a sense of togetherness and belonging. Moore’s values are in the right place for that.

Don’t want to get morbid here but whenever anyone of sporting note passes away, the eulogies seldom climax on what they achieved.

Typically, they end with something like: “And more importantly, he/ she was a good man/ woman.”

That tells us something fundamental about the bottom line in life, sport included.

Occasionally its omission is tacitly telling. The achievements stand alone. And besides, when you haven’t got anything good to say about someone, best say nothing.

But, as with Southgate, many good things will be said about Moore whether he succeeds with the Owls or not.

Carrying so much goodwill for a club that has attracted so much of the opposite is more than a start.