OWLS SPECIAL: Whoever is new Sheffield Wednesday boss, target is still same - promotion by May

Ambitious: Owls chief Milan Mandaric needs to see progress.
Ambitious: Owls chief Milan Mandaric needs to see progress.
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Wednesday’s new manager will be under the same pressure for results as that experienced by Alan Irvine.

Not that the new man will have any worries about his immediate future.

But Milan Mandaric will set the manager the same target that seemed to be drifting out of Irvine’s reach: promotion to the Championship this season and ultimately a place in the Premier League.

The Owls chairman is making the managerial change because he refuses to write this season off.

Mandaric wants someone who will be passionate about the task ahead and shares his vision of the future.

He felt that reluctantly he had to axe Irvine because results had slumped: with 20 games left, the team are 14 points off an automatic promotion place, eight below the play-offs and only five above the bottom four.

Mandaric says that he himself feels an obligation to lead the Owls to success.

“We are all under pressure. I paid big money for the club. My pressure is to deliver what people are expecting,” he said. I’m not saying we are going to take the club into the Championship now and into the Premier League the following year. But we have to see that we are going the right way.

“That’s the way we have to go. That’s the reason I bought this club.”

He wants the new boss to be someone who is capable of taking the Owls into the top flight: “There’s no point in just bringing in someone on a temporary basis just to get us out of here [League One.]

“I want somebody who wants to get this job. I want him to recognise what this club means.

“I want him to really have a desire to come here and turn things around. I want him to recognise where we are and where we need to go.”

Tongue in cheek, he added: “Of course I could probably approach Mourinho and he’s going to ask me ‘how much money?’

“But I want a manager here who wants to be as committed to the club as I am.”

He is full of praise for Irvine’s character, hard work and commitment but felt he had no choice but to bring in another manager, in view of results: only two points from the last six league games, and three heavy defeats, 5-1 at Exeter, 4-0 at Leyton Orient and 5-3 at Peterborough.

Mandaric, who paid around £9 million for the club, is ready to back moves into the loan market after it opens next week, having already forked out around £900,000 on the five signings made by Irvine in the January transfer window.

The chairman feels that his reputation for being trigger happy is undeserved: “Maybe a few times I made a wrong selection; in order to make a correction, I had to do what I had to do.

“I don’t enjoy firing people, It’s not my style.

“Everyone knows that, in America, when I was working with the companies there.

“In football, I can’t teach the manager to win games. I can him give him support and the tools; if he doesn’t make use of them, what do I do?

“I can’t replace 11 players and replace 20,000 people who are booing my manager.

“I can only do one thing: release the manager and bring in somebody else.”

He cites successful times at Portsmouth and Leicester with Harry Redknapp and Nigel Pearson: “Once I have the right guy, I stick with him.”

The decision to replace Irvine was one of the hardest that he has ever had to make.

“He’s a decent guy, honest, hard-working and tireless. I said many times to people around me that I hoped I would not have to do what I have now done. I like the guy,

“But my job is to do what’s best for the club. I think Alan will find another job quickly.”