I’ve said on The Wednesday Week many times that if there’s any club who know that changing the manager at the drop of hat isn’t a solution, it’s Sheffield Wednesday.
We have been a textbook example of pulling the plug far too early on many occasions, albeit not in recent years. I’ve totally supported Dejphon Chansiri’s refreshing loyalty to his man. Arguably he could have dumped Carlos within the first two months of his reign, but he kept the faith and was proved right.
But there also is point at which making the change becomes necessary and perhaps inevitable. I fear that is where we find ourselves now.
I was delighted to see Carlos stay on in the summer. He knows the squad; the squad know him. He knows the club, understands the fan base, and that continuity would mean we hit the ground running from the off. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.
This third season provided us with an exciting opportunity - to find a style of play which would allow our attacking quality to flair while staying tight at the back.
Instead, we’ve gone backwards. We’re leaking goals, and not scoring enough at the other end. I don’t buy “I’d rather us win 4-3 than 1-0” Currently, we’re doing neither.
I’ve long been an advocate of us trying three at the back. It would seem to suit our squad, while also matching Carlos’ seeming dislike for wingers. Granted, for large parts of this season it simply wasn’t an option - but now we have the players available, it seems Carlos still isn’t willing the entertain the idea.
Of course, I realise that it’s probably something they have looked and maybe tried in training, and perhaps concluded it wouldn’t work for us. Herein lies the problem - I’m just not sure. I’m no longer confident Carlos is doing all the right things behind the scenes and I find myself questioning his judgement. Yes, he’s the expert, and he knows way better than me - but once upon a time I’d be happy to say ‘I trust his judgement’; now, I can’t say that with any conviction.
Carlos seems short on ideas and at best, is struggling to communicate those ideas to his players.
At Bolton, off the back of a two week break, we looked like we’d just played three games in a week and had run out of steam.
We looked flat, void of any imagination, and all out of inspiration, confidence, with no leadership. These are vital ingredients - but I fear the problem goes deeper.
What I saw on Saturday, not for the first time, was a team lacking passion. They weren’t playing for their manager. In all honesty, I think he’s losing - or has lost - the dressing room.
You could tell the players were frustrated. Give footballers a game plan and they will go out and do it - they are straightforward creatures in that sense. Our game plan wasn’t working and there seemed to be little inspiration coming from the touch line about how we were going to turn it around.
Ultimately we were unlucky not to have been awarded a clear penalty and therefore a good chance of taking a point from the game. But Phil Parkinson was right to say that would have been an injustice - Bolton were the better team.
Carlos’ insistence on defending his players is growing tiresome. His post match interviews were once open and refreshing. Now they’re boring and repetitive. He isn’t delusional, as many label him, and he must see the issues we see - but he’s unwilling to acknowledge them and - it seems - increasingly happy to simply ignore them.
I understand that patience is a virtue in this game. But we’re a quarter of the way through the season and we’re getting left behind. It’s not as though performances are good enough for us to believe we’re on the verge of a great run. They aren’t, and we’re further away from our ultimate goal of promotion than we have been in the DC era. That said, no-one is out of sight, and we can be quickly back in it, but can any of us honestly see that happening as things stand?
Our aim is promotion. That is a tough ask in any given season. We would be foolish to ‘expect’ it - but we are entitled to at least expect to enjoy the journey whatever the outcome - be it through entertaining football, or a clear commitment on the pitch. We just aren’t seeing these things in anything other than one-offs and that isn’t good enough. I can’t be only Wednesday fan who isn’t enjoying the experience of following the team this season - either on the pitch, or the poisonous divide in the fan base which culminated in Saturday’s “Carlos out” chants. I didn’t join in by the way, although for anyone who wasn’t there, it was a sizeable chunk of the away support, not the odd handful. As a club, we need a fresh start, to galvanise us from top down - regroup the players, regroup the staff, and regroup us as fans.
Dejphon Chansiri has proved himself a loyal and patient chairman, and I respect him for that. Now he needs to show himself to be a brave and ambitious chairman and make a positive and decisive change to get the season back on track.
James Marriott is a programme manager, podcaster and Sheffield Wednesday fan. Follow James @JamesMarriott