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A family Christmas?
Has an unexpected epilogue from the Chairman left the Massive feeling conflicted?

​Hello all. I wrote this at about 7.30 this morning and so before news about CC's "mutually agreed departure" broke. Rather than go in and change it I'll leave it as it is; a testament to where we thought we were after the Chairman's statement. Not quite sure how CC's going followed DC's statement; answers on a postcard please... 

When I was a kid it was always Christmas Day when I woke up early and lay in bed wondering when I dare get up and risk disturbing everyone. However I don’t remember that ever happening on the morning of Christmas Eve…until now. At 5.45 a.m. I woke up worrying not about whether Santa had been but rather whether Carlos Carvalhal had been sacked from Sheffield Wednesday.

Risking the sweary avalanche that follows from waking by wife up in the early hours before long I was reaching for my phone. I had gone to bed open mouthed to find that yesterday’s opponents had, on the back of beating Wednesday, parted company with their manager. As it happened a posse of Boro boys had dropped into the tap room of the Barracks before heading back north and were busy telling us that they had no real cause for celebration (although they would take the win) and that had they lost they would have all been howling for Garry Monk to go. What we said back to them was that Steve Gibson seemed to us a proper footballing Chairman, making changes as he needs to and always backing his managers with money and fair degree of autonomy.

So, what I found on my phone in the early morning darkness was a tweet from Sheffield Wednesday from around 2.00 a.m. directing me to an “Epilogue” form Dejphon Chansiri to his recent series of Ask the Chairman pieces. It’s hard to remember when I have been so conflicted by anything I’ve read. What quickly became apparent is that we certainly aren’t going to see any Dooley-esk Christmas Eve sacking of Carlos. Rather DC was setting out to provide “honest answers to honest questions” and that “I know that some things I say may make some fans unhappy”. The piece very much centres on SWFC as being a family where respect and honesty is crucial whether in giving praise or criticism.

DC notes that he has had communications from season ticket holders asking for a refund and appears to say that they can have one (“with conditions” – sure what those are will soon become apparent). DC then goes on to say that he never guaranteed promotion by our 150th celebration year but that his priorities have been to “try to make the dream come true” whilst fixing the problems of the past and building foundations for the future.  He then goes on to note that some fans say owners come and go and that fans are the real owners but that “it is easy to work the pure business but I work like a human being and a Chairman.” He goes on to say “I have to ask, is my worth just to invest money for the fans…I have never thought this before but now maybe I start to think the same, like business”.

In saying that he has always tried his best, DC concedes that when he came here he didn’t know too much about football but has learned something about football every day. He then goes on to talk about how he doesn’t feel good when “some fans talk very bad about Carlos” before reminding us how much CC was loved and respected but now “some fans want to drive him out of our club”. He goes on to admit that the coach must take responsibility as “the leader of football” but adds that he himself is “happy to take responsibility for everything as leader” but that people who criticise should do so with respect before adding that “this job is long term and far from finished”.

You can – and I’m sure you will – read the rest for yourselves but he goes on to say that if fans don’t trust him any more they should let him know as he is spending time away from his family to do this job and before wishing us season’s greetings he adds “every decision I make I do as your chairman and what I believe to be the right decision for Sheffield Wednesday”.

So blimey then. Now I’m fairly confident that DC wasn’t hiding behind the Christmas tree in the New Barracks tap post-match yesterday but he’s certainly managed to make me feel a pang of guilt at being one of those people whose frustration at this season’s miserable progress had made them move on from the failings of CC this season to those of his line manager.  

I can’t recall ever seeing anything like this before (not from any Chairman, let alone Wednesday’s) and so, like I imagine many of us I’m left wondering where this leaves us. Mr Chansiri’s passion, honesty and loyalty are both admirable and refreshing and his words about us being a family and this not just being a business proposition for him are deeply refreshing. However if we hold that up as a beacon then we have to seriously think about the rest of it – if we are a real family then we can’t caper on about how he should sack the manager; it’s like saying Uncle Bert has to leave the family Christmas celebrations cos he got up before everyone else and ate all the pigs in blankets.

But in the meantime we sit 15th in the table and yesterday the conversations had moved on from who might replace Carlos to take us up to who might replace him and keep us up (I’ve never before imagined a world where people would look up from their Plum Porter and say the word Pulis). Time them for us all to decide where we stand now.

So, from being incandescent with rage yesterday that CC appears to be going nowhere let me tell you where I am. The Chairman’s honest - and I really do believe heartfelt – words mean that I think we owe to him to collectively back off at least for a while. The vibe that he is in it for the long haul and learning more and more about football with every passing day gives some grounds for optimism (although if he’s learning that he needs to appoint a Director of Football and step back a bit more from the on-pitch decisions that would give grounds for even more). I think he gets it and is genuinely hurt that members of his “family” are giving him a hard time and so perhaps we too need to take a step back before he decides to take his bat, ball and tins of tuna home and leave us to the mercies of whoever we would get next.

So onwards, upwards and hopefully a late Christmas present from Santa where Boxing Day sees the start of the turnaround. Come on Wednesday!

  

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13.11.2018
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