It can’t shift the fans’ debate over Carlos Carvalhal as a bare minimum win that must spark a big improvement. But at least beating Millwall permits a drawing of breath for a calmer consideration of the “what ifs?”
Sack a manager? What then? Two things usually. The release of pressure and, whoever takes charge, a positive reaction, albeit often temporary. Then the release of funds for a new boss in the next transfer window.
Sheffield Wednesday might get the first – but, under the current FFP squeeze, they can hardly promise the second. So, while the job would be attractive, there is nothing remotely simple about this whole situation.
It’s one of the most complex and unusual I’ve known in dealing with more than 40 managers across four decades of Sheffield football. In all that time I have never publicly called for a sacking – and this is definitely one of the better managers.
Besides being professional suicide (having witnessed many sudden shifts in fortune), I believe it goes beyond the remit of the job. Management is difficult enough as it is.
What I will say is that Carvalhal could well have been considered sackable under the way, rightly or wrongly, football normally operates. Four matches ago I suggested this sequence represented a yardstick demanding a minimum seven points. Wednesday have managed just four.
Not nearly good enough, demanding a change – of something. Supporters have had every right to be angry. Which is not to cast a vote; just to further illustrate a scenario made more complicated than any I can recall by the nature of a chairman who is, in my experience, unique.
When last week Dejphon Chansiri said Carvalhal had his 100 per cent support he truly meant it. He didn’t mean for one or two games before sacking him. For Chansiri, not losing face is everything. I doubt he would countenance quickly turning tail on such a statement.
Some will call this foolish and pig-headed; others will find it refreshing in a game desperately short of loyalty.
That said, a change cannot be ruled out indefinitely even with the chairman’s backing. Carvalhal’s popular standing has been on the edge. If it tipped right over against him, would he help out his boss by meeting him halfway on a mutual basis?
A possibility perhaps, but thankfully stalled with a big game at Aston Villa to relish as a true rekindling opportunity.
As for rumoured replacements (none of which will have emanated from an intensely secretive chairman), most are traditional British managers who demand control on transfers. I doubt they would suit Chansiri or that he would pursue any of them.
Much likelier a a surprise, probably foreign, choice. As was the case with Carvalhal – and he hasn’t done such a bad job, has he? The old saying of being careful what you wish for certainly applies.
Meantime, the players continue to owe everyone much more than they are delivering. I feel there is something in the psyche of this team and squad that demands being kept on heat. The solution probably lies in their hands more than anyone else’s. They are good enough to find it, given the greater application of their recent efforts, and I sincerely hope they do. Oh, and they are only three points off the top six even now!