Alan Biggs: Taken aback by the bold promises from Garry Monk and Sheffield Wednesday

Whoa! That was this column’s first reaction to hearing these words: “One thing I can promise is there will be a team to be proud of at the end of this journey.”

Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 12:00 pm

Hoping is one thing, promising quite another when you are the manager of Sheffield Wednesday. Or any club, for that matter.

But on further reflection these were words that Owls fans needed to hear. And words that Garry Monk needed to say.

They could be thrown back in his face, of course. How long is the “journey”? Managers don’t get long haul. Will he be there at the end of it?

Sign up to our Sheffield Wednesday newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Owls Manager Garry Monk has been quite bold in making a promise to Sheffield Wednesday fans..Pic Steve Ellis

But perhaps all the more reason for Monk saying what he did. Not once but twice, first in the glow of a promising restart and then undaunted by defeats as Wednesday failed to convert early dominance against West Brom and Swansea.

Supporters like a touch of bravado. Some had come, with indecent haste in my view, to regard Monk as lacking that indefinable quality - passion.

Does it have to show? Is football that superficial?

Read More

Read More
From a cold Bradford flat to talks with Fernando Forestieri: the whirlwind Sheff...

If you take the words, rather than the mild manner in which they appear to have been spoken, the Owls boss has shown quite a lot of passion actually.

Or perhaps courage is a better word when it came to openly criticising the culture in the dressing room.

If a manager is going to do that, and brave the backlash of the poor form that followed, he might as well be equally bold about what he intends to create.

Here, in my opinion, we are talking realistically about two or three years work in terms of turning Wednesday into a promotion side.

It is a contracting club at the moment, necessarily so. The wage bill has to be dramatically reduced, the signing budget has to be scaled down, ready made top Championship players are presumably well beyond the club’s means.

All of that points to a rebuild that you wouldn’t expect to magic up a strong promotion bid next season.

But Monk, already into his fifth managerial job at the tender age of 41, knows better than most that you don’t get time for long-term projects.

He is not given to off-the-cuff statements - his post-match outbursts have not been regretted for honesty - and I think he has weighed up that “promise” of his pretty carefully.

Monk will know that no-one can truthfully make such a thing in football. But he might as well go all out with his claims to continuing in the job.

His words about recruiting “younger, dynamic, hungrier” players were also bang on the money.

And besides, Hillsborough badly needs some positivity.