Sheffield Wednesday: Owls greats back Gray

Owls chief Stuart Gray.
Owls chief Stuart Gray.
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Two Sheffield Wednesday legends have urged new Owls owner Hafiz Mammadov to keep faith with boss Stuart Gray.

Former England internationals Carlton Palmer and David Hirst feel head coach Gray has earned the right to take the club forward.

Mammadov’s multi-million pound takeover of Wednesday has inevitably raised questions regarding Gray’s future. Some foreign owners do opt to make instant managerial changes after investing heavily in a football club. It remains unclear whether Gray has Mammadov’s backing.

After succeeding Dave Jones, initially on a caretaker basis, last December, Gray masterminded a superb revival in the second half of the campaign. Wednesday ultimately finished 16th in the standings and he went on to secure a full-time position.

Media pundit Palmer says the Azerbaijani businessman should stick with Gray.

He told The Star: “I think, given the circumstances when Stuart [Gray] took over last year, he has earned the right to take the club forward. One hundred per cent. He has done well with a limited budget so he deserves to be given an opportunity to go into next season.”

Hirst, who still works on a part-time basis with Wednesday’s academy players, echoed those sentiments but fears Mammadov may elect to freshen things up.

“It’s the unfortunate side of football when a new chairman comes in and things change,” said Hirst. “Stuart did a great job last season and I think he deserves a shot. I personally would like to see him remain there but I’m not spending any money. If he [Mammadov] thinks it needs a change, he will make a change. That’s football.

“If he is spending millions of pounds, he’s entitled to do what he wants. It’s a business and he’s the man at the helm.”

Reports in France have suggested Mammadov has lined up Owls favourite Chris Waddle to replace Gray.

Palmer added: “Chris is a great pal of mine and I know he would love to manage Sheffield Wednesday but the man who is in possession of the shirt at the moment is Stuart Gray and he has earned the right to be given an opportunity.”