Alan Biggs: The huge part Sheffield Wednesday fans have to play in Tony Pulis era
Timed at 5:01pm last Saturday, three matches in. “PULIS OUT,” raged one of my followers on Twitter - in block capitals and without irony or humour.
Only one and easily dismissed but it’s dangerously symbolic for Sheffield Wednesday.
Unless we kill this sort of reflex stone dead, there is a real risk of “here we ago again” - so soon after trotting out words like “stability,” “patience,” and “continuity.”
Just like the last time. Maybe just like the next time as well. And, of course, we mean those words sincerely - at the time.
But they are words from which the novelty wears off very quickly for some of the louder voices on social media.
Even though we know that these words are exactly what Wednesday need and we have 20 years of near irrefutable proof that they can scarcely hope to return to the Premier League without them.
So let’s at least try to change it here and now. Let’s look coldly and realistically at how long it might take Tony Pulis - or any other manager - to achieve the task.
I’ll say three years minimum for starters, slightly less with a lot of luck. Effectively, next season, the season after that and possibly one more season on top.
Or, put another way, a minimum of three or four transfer windows.
That means putting up with bad sequences of results and quite possibly dogged football, turning a deaf ear to sacking demands on Twitter, keeping faith in the plan and the guy fronting it.
But hang on. That’s probably as unrealistic as demanding promotion as early as Tony Pulis’s first full season.
So you see how short-term it all becomes, even for what’s intended to be on all sides a long-term mission.
The biggest trick facing managers these days - and where Garry Monk fell short - is getting results during the process of overhauling.
When it’s all in shape the hardest work is done. There is no margin before then for tolerance and error.
Which is why I’ve tended to adopt an increasingly tolerant stance towards successive Hillsborough managers, having seen so many come and go.
Take the last one. On his record at the point he was sacked, he had failed. But given the time being argued here for his successor, we will never know whether he would have failed over that fairer length of term.
Let’s just hope we never have to make the same point about Tony Pulis, Championship survival permitting. Not that he doesn’t have a superior record over a longer period, or that you’d expect him to fare so badly in the first year.
But there will be times when fortitude and plain patience is required. Have we got what it takes?