Alan Biggs' Sheffield Wednesday Column: There's been no sense of panic around Hillsborough after Steve Bruce walked out... but Dejphon Chansiri has to get this appointment right
Less than a week ago, a reliable source of mine suggested Gary Rowett was frustrated that he couldn’t get an interview with Sheffield Wednesday.
Now (as this is written) the former Birmingham, Derby and Stoke boss is the odds on favourite.
But it does show you how badly Rowett, who cut his managerial teeth at Burton Albion, has wanted the job. And how the Owls came round to considering the 45-year-old’s claims.
If Rowett goes on to land it, that is worth plenty for starters. It also demonstrates how quickly and dramatically things can change in a manager hunt.
This one began with the Owls focusing on Chris Hughton and then Tony Pulis. The second was keen, the first evidently not so.
With Rowett there is no doubt. I was told last Thursday evening that he “would love the opportunity.” At that time, my source added he “didn’t have a sniff” of speaking to the Owls.
Which doesn’t mean there wasn’t an interest, just that it took time to develop allied to other factors.
In my view, Rowett could be considered a sound enough choice on his career overall. Aside from a calamitous spell with highly-fancied Stoke last season, which led to his sacking, he has done well.
His earlier dismissal by Birmingham, after an impressive two years with Burton Albion, was unbelievably harsh. Although he then missed out on promotion with Derby, his 43.3 per cent win rate at Pride Park was decent enough.
Beyond the odds, there have been few guarantees about anything at this uncertain time at Hillsborough. Only;-
1/ The club prioritised a preference for an experienced manager to replace Steve Bruce - whether it turned out that way or not.
2/ If a manager in work was to be recruited, Wednesday would do it properly, club to club, or not at all amid their ongoing wrangle with Newcastle. Rowett is among those readily available.
3/ There would be no rushed or impulsive reaction to losing Bruce, regardless of the proximity to the new season.
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4/ Tony Pulis was definitely among options the club has explored.
5/ Chris Coleman has remained high in the betting throughout.
Taking the final points first, I understand Pulis met an Owls representative to discuss the position.
The former Stoke, West Brom and Middlesbrough boss was certainly not the only candidate to have been spoken to by Wednesday. Rowett’s tumbling odds may well prove significant.
Hughton, had he been gettable, would have remained my pick, for what it’s worth. It just so happened the Pulis link was the one I could confirm. Rowett was out of the picture a week ago.
Coleman’s name has lingered long enough not to dismiss. His managerial record is patchy other than impressing for Wales but I have no doubt he would interview well. He is an impressive man personally; warm, witty and engaging.
As for Pulis, judging from predictable social media reaction, he would be, let’s say, a controversial choice and that may have killed it. The benefit of names being flagged up is to gauge reaction.
He’s come under fire for his direct style, most recently at Boro, though undeniably the 61-year-old Welshman has been highly successful in his nine-club managerial career, a specialist at keeping unfashionable teams in the top flight.
When I tweeted the Pulis connection, I wondered whether it might involve a return to Hillsborough for a much more popular figure, ex-player and boss Gary Megson.
He and Pulis are long-time pals, though it is far from certain that Megson would entertain a number two role, having felt uncomfortable in it during a spell under Pulis with the Baggies.
There were always others in the field and, while the situation might look acute to outsiders, there’s been no sense of panic around Hillsborough, with owner Dejphon Chansiri not a man to be stampeded in one direction or another.
It is also an enormous decision he needs to get right.