Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk reveals he turned down job offers before Owls appointment
Sixteen years have passed since Garry Monk donned the famous blue and white stripes during his brief loan spell at Hillsborough.
But Monk still looks back on on his three-month Owls stay with fond memories.
"When you look back at playing careers, it can be a bit of a blur but there always certain moments or parts of your career that stand out more than others and that was definitely one of them," he told The Star.
"It was a period where I was out on loan quite a bit from Southampton as a young player.
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"Wednesday were the biggest club that I ever went out on loan to."
Monk, signed from Southampton by then Wednesday boss Chris Turner, made 15 Owls starts in the 2002/03 season.
He said: "I learned a lot in that three months. I stayed in the Garrison Hotel just down the road for three months.
"I walked around the city every single day after training so I bumped into many, many Sheffield Wednesday fans at that time. I walked the first few days into town and then I thought 'this is quite a long way for me!'
"Even though I was only there a short period and played 14 or 15 games, it is a memory that sticks out a lot."
He still vividly recalls the Kop end being packed before one particular night match and the racket Wednesdayites made.
Monk said: "We were in a relegation fight and the Kop end just seemed to be packed from the warm up and I remember running out and thinking 'wow'. The noise was so loud and powerful.
"To see the power from the Kop stand made your hairs stand up. I have always had that in my mind when I have come back here."
His 10-year playing career came to an end in 2014 and the ex-defender kicked off his managerial career at Swansea City. Not only has Monk managed in the Premier League, but he has taken charge of several big Championship clubs, including Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Birmingham City.
Despite guiding the Blues to a respectable 17th-placed finish last season (they would have finished 14th had they not been deducted nine points for breaching Profitability and Sustainability regulations), Monk was sacked by the Midlands outfit in June.
It was the first time in 24 years that Monk was not around a football environment during the close season.
"It was very strange being off over the summer, but I used it as a positive in the sense that it gave me time to go and watch a lot of games," said Monk.
"A lot of the time you are only really watching or trying to prepare for the game in front of you or maybe two to three games in front of you at the club you are at.
"I have watched a variety of football. I watched a lot of Championship games as well other games to see how clubs are working and try and get a gauge on that.
"I always try and use the time to study and understand how you can improve what you do. I have actually enjoyed watching a number of games this season."
A number of clubs expressed an interest in Monk's services following his departure from St Andrew's.
But Monk turned down overtures from elsewhere, opting instead to join the Owls. The 40-year-old was officially unveiled as Wednesday's ninth permanent managerial appointment in the past decade on Friday afternoon.
"There was certain interest, but (Wednesday) were the main one," he said. "As soon as I heard they wanted to speak to me and we had those discussions, it was a no-brainer."
His objective is to transform the Owls' fortunes. Wednesday have stuttered in the last couple of seasons after reaching the play-offs for two years running under Carlos Carvalhal.
For Monk, he wants to help the club realise its potential.
Monk said: "I have been in management for five years and I feel that I have gained so much experience in that time and each experience has helped me develop.
"I have always been hungry and I am ready to go and I think that is important, especially at big clubs to have that enthusiasm and readiness.
"I am just ready to commit everything that I have to try and make this club as successful as possible and most importantly give these players something that can help them.
"If you look at the recent history of this club, they have had a couple of near misses. In the last couple of seasons, you would probably say they have underachieved.
"It is about trying to bring them back to something where we all know what they are capable of. The players know that but it is about helping them realise how to do that and that is what we are going to try and help them do."
The new Wednesday boss has vowed to work hard with the squad on the training pitch and also improve the mindset of his players.
"I think they have a good mentality from speaking to Lee [Bullen] and watching them already this season," said Monk.
"We are talking about small margins. If you can put the mentality in place at a big club and use that to your advantage, it can galvanise you as a squad, staff and as a club and everything can be together.
"I have seen it and experienced that at my other clubs.
"I think you can see the effects of that mentality when you have the fans and player relationship and it is all working together and everyone is on the same page.
"It is that pure fight and I have already had that experience in my managerial career at some really good clubs. It is trying to help the players and the fans see it.
"Yeah, there will be some ups and downs but when you have that consistently wise you can always come through it. We will be trying to get that consistency."