Big-name references prove Garry Monk has won heart of the club - Alex Miller's Sheffield Wednesday column
In there certain people in every organisation that carry a reputation that means when they speak, others listen.
Be that at work, in a certain field or indeed in a football team, it comes from experience and a hard-earned sense that their opinion is worth more than the weight of noise around them.
At Sheffield Wednesday, Barry Bannan and Steven Fletcher are two of those men.
They’re part of the furniture at Hillsborough and have forgotten more about the club than most will ever know. Between them they have played hundreds of matches for the Owls, have played in play-off campaigns and seen the very best and the very worst of what Wednesday can achieve.
And while the knives were never out for Owls boss Garry Monk, the sense across the board that the ‘big job’ he describes is a transition well worth persevering with, there have been creaking doubts in some sections of the fanbase over the manager’s long-term suitability to steering the direction of that job.
Wednesday are not yet out of the slump that saw them slide nine places down the league since Christmas – it’ll take a lot more than a draw and a 1-0 home win to draw a line under that – but speaking after their dramatic win over Charlton in midweek Monk himself admitted he felt he had answer a few question marks over, among other things, his role in a horror start to 2020.
And he couldn’t have wished for a greater pair of references than from his Scottish generals Bannan and Fletcher.
Bannan came out first, admitting that the Owls malaise was little to do with the manager and suggesting in many ways the players had got off too lightly in the court of public opinion.
And this week came the big forward, revealed that together with other senior players he’s told the squad that they needed to up their game to ensure the former Leeds boss was given the opportunity to drive the club forward.
“I've worked with a lot of managers over my time and he's one of the best managers I've worked with,” he said.
“I'm not just saying that because he's my manager now, it's the little details he works on and they are things I've never seen before in my career. We spoke to the lads and said we've got a good thing here and we need to make sure we keep it. Hopefully we do.”
The hand dealt to Monk has not been an easy one of course. This column has spoken previously of starting new cycles and with so many players potentially out of the door in the summer, a new cycle will surely come.
Having had no pre-season, no budget, no incoming staff and no firm ground to work on, a shelf-life to Garry Monk’s initial bounce as manager at Wednesday was never going to go on forever.
He’s made mistakes in that horror run, he admits that himself, but any doubts over his ability to push things on at Hillsborough are better answered by those who know.
Barry Bannan and Steven Fletcher are decent judges.