IT WAS bound to happen one day: friends and fans asking me: “How long has he got?”
The “he” was of course Dave Jones and he is in the same boat as any other manager who has suffered a bad run.
That’s the way football is, these days.
Come a spell of defeats, many people wonder out loud whether a change is looming.
It is too soon for the Owls manager to come under pressure.
That was the distinct impression I got from talking to Milan Mandaric this week.
The chairman took a supportive stance, broadly, while carefully avoiding the “vote of confidence.”
I thought the Wednesday chief spoke with sound common sense, in saying that this no time for panic, it is a new team that has yet to gel, and that the experienced Jones, his staff and the players are working hard to correct mistakes and turn the club’s fortunes around.
I always think that a man in Milan’s position can be in an awkward spot when, quite rightly, his opinion on a weighty matter such as this is sought.
If he goes overboard with a “vote of confidence” then no one takes it seriously and everyone thinks the manager must be set for the chop - and I am talking about clubs in general.
If a chairman declines to say anything then that too will be interpreted as a sign that something is up.
If he gives even the most sensible, considered expression of faith in the future, has a good word for the manager, and points to the conscientious work being done to correct matters, as Mandaric has done, even this supportive standpoint could end up being questioned from some quarters if results do not improve and one day the axe must fall. Mandaric has handled the issue with wisdom and sensitivity.
Mind you, I’m not sure that managers in general take much notice of what their chairmen say.
The team bosses do not need to be told of the golden rule: everything, everybody is judged sooner or later on results.
It is extraordinary how Jones has experienced such extremes: 10 wins in his first 12 games last season, and promotion; a 17-match unbeaten start to his reign; second place in the Championship early doors, and top if the team had won at Brighton; then one point from seven matches and a slide to third from bottom.
He has said several times that he feels for the players, because things have not gone their way though they haven’t been getting battered every week. But how about a bit of sympathy for him?
Jones is a good, experienced manager who is still in the early stages of honing a new team, a team rebuilt on resources less sumptuous than those employed by the big guns of the Championship.
Yet Wednesday have come so close, so many times, to picking up points instead of getting nothing.
It was hoped that the draw at Burnley would prove to be a turning point. It didn’t quite happen, and Hull sneaked a win thanks to another defensive lapse.
So now it’s all eyes on the Leeds game next Friday, and another opportunity to bring about a new dawn.
The Owls are certainly due that elusive win.
What better occasion to achieve it than a Yorkshire derby, live on telly, against a team managed by Neil Warnock? I am certain he will be just as determined as ever to put one over the old enemy.