Sheffield Wednesday: What do the Owls need in their new boss?

The hunt for Stuart Gray's replacement is on
The hunt for Stuart Gray's replacement is on
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What do Sheffield Wednesday need in their new head coach?

It is a question that has been asked too many times over the last two decades in the club’s history.

But perhaps never before has the answer been as complicated and multi-layered as it currently is.

The fabric of the club has changed dramatically since Dejphon Chansiri officially took over in March.

No longer is the man in charge of the first team the figurehead of the club.

Stuart Gray bore the title of head coach but acted in the capacity of a traditional manager until Chansiri first came onto the scene in January, dealing with signings and contracts.

But then Chansiri took Milan Mandaric’s plan for a director of football system and ran with it, significantly altering the landscape of a club.

It means that the new man must be happy to work primarily in a coaching capacity, training and preparing the first team squad for matches.

Recruitment and other aspects which traditionally fell to a manager, will now be done by committee, as instigated by Chansiri.

The head coach will work alongside Glenn Roeder, Paul Senior, Jonathan Hill – and perhaps even more advisors – and could be required to concede power to them, particularly over recruitment.

The priority in a candidate is therefore strong aptitude as a coach.

It is a role that could prove quite the culture shock for someone raised in British football where sporting directors remain a rather new concept compared to the continent.

So there is the distinct possibility the Owls could be set to appoint the first non-British boss in the club’s history.

More than anything else however, the new head coach will have to be successful.

The dismissal of Gray proved to be the first real insight into the type of chairman Chansiri could be.

It is clear the prospect of further gentle progress under Gray was not enticing for the Thai businessman.

His goal of Premier League football within two years appears to be very real.

Anyone appeared to be hindering that progress is likely to be dealt with swiftly and severely.

But it is not just the owner to which the new head coach must endear himself.

Sheffield Wednesday supporters have been galvanised by Chansiri’s takeover, enticed by his talk of a long-awaited return to the top flight.

High expectations are back at Hillsborough, in the boardroom and on the terraces too.

If decent money is spent on signings this summer, those expectations will only increase and the pressure on the head coach will grow.

Wednesdayites are ready to be entertained again, given the reaction by some to Gray’s dismissal.

The ‘boring’ tag was used in relation to Gray’s brand of football, particularly at Hillsborough. Given the lack of goals and victories on home soil last season, there can be some sympathy with that view.

Owls supporters will appreciate a team that attacks and comes up short over one that plays it safe. Had Wednesday finished in the same position but reduced the number of draws, there would likely have been a more satisfied feeling when looking back on the season as a whole.

Results and style can make a boss popular but personality can be key too.

While his role may not be as all encompassing as previous Owls bosses, he will still be the direct contact with supporters.

Though a thoroughly nice man, charisma was not Gray’s strong suit. He was never likely to whip fans up into a frenzy in the manner of past bosses like Gary Megson and Ron Atkinson.

Reputation and contacts are key to success, particularly for clubs outside the Premier League.

A well-respected coach can attract players both on permanent transfers and loans.

Wednesday now appear to have the financial clout to compete with plenty of their Championship rivals for the big name loans.

The reputation of the coach can get deals for those players over the line. Premier League clubs want their players in safe hands, somewhere they know they have a chance of progressing.

Yet as we saw with the rather ruthless dismissal of Gray, overall the new head coach must please Chansiri and his close advisors.

In his short statement on Gray’s sacking, Chansiri promised a new direction for the club. It will be up to the new man to lead the way successfully.