‘There’s got to be a big change’ – Gary Megson on the challenges of being Sheffield Wednesday boss and the problems facing Steve Bruce in the hunt for promotion
“A football club is like an iceberg. You see the top of it which is the football, which you can see.”
But as ex-Sheffield Wednesday manager Gary Megson knows all too well, it’s the bit of the iceberg under the surface that can have the most influence when it comes to survival in the football world.
A lot has happened in the seven years since Megson was sacked as Owls boss at a time when he had the third best record of anyone to occupy the Hillsborough dugout.
In many ways though, the former midfielder insists that the club he and his family have supported, played for or managed for three generations is much the same as when he was in charge.
At least, off the pitch, the football club still has as many unusual characters, structural issues and managerial conundrums as it ever did.
Now though, with Steve Bruce in charge, Megson believes Wednesday may end their 19 year wait for a return to the Premier League which has come about at a glacial pace.
“Since Steve has come in it looks like he has worked on making sure that they are solid,” Megson told the Star.
“I’m looking at it seeing maybe two or three teams who have got that momentum already and there are the two that have got the downward momentum that are up in the top six or top seven spaces.
“They’ve got the same chance as I think Villa have got, Forest have got or Preston have got - the other two up there will be looking at it the other way, Bristol City and Derby.
“Middlesbrough will be looking over their shoulder. When you get to this stage of the season it’s entirely different to the other stage and it’s then whether you can handle all that different kind of pressure.
“It’s certainly going to make it interesting until the end of the season for everybody.”
And what of the challenges that face Steve Bruce as he mounts a promotion push, either this season or next?
“There’s got to be a big change,” he said. “It needed changing when I was here, and there’s no point bringing in a good manager and not letting him manage.
“So the change has not only got to happen on the pitch - that has already happened with Jos leaving and Steve coming in.
“The change has got to happen off the pitch as well. I’m not on about money, but in terms of getting the structure right for the football club to go forward because it’s not.
“This place is still not geared for going forward yet, but Steve will know that because of where he’s worked in the past.
“It needs a real good sweep through and in Steve they’ve got the right person to do it but if they don’t listen to him then there’s no point having him here.”
Megson, who managed clubs including Bolton, Nottingham Forest and Norwich after he retired as a player, has only been in charge at West Brom since he left Hillsborough.
The 59-year-old stepped in as interim Baggies boss in 2017 and says that the realities of football management are different than what he expected when he ended his playing career.
“I think when you go into management you have a fixed idea about how you’ll do things, but within about 24 hours you realise it’s not particularly like that,” he told the Star at a fundraising event for the Sheffield Wednesday Community Programme.
“There’s very few managers that go to a football club with fixed ideas and are actually allowed to do it.
“Usually you’ve got your players and you’ve got the way club works and you have to adapt to that and try to get the best out of it. The hours are really really long if you do it properly.
“The demands you put on yourself are huge and it gets magnified.”