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Do dream it's over
A final line under the deposed king Carlos

So the Jos Luhukay era is properly under way. After the one-off, owt could happen of the derby and a steady enough cruise past fourth division opposition, yesterday saw his first “proper game” and against the ever-tricky Neil Warnock. Say what you like about Mr Warnock - and over the years most of us have - but he’s a shrewd manager who always does his homework (the two early attempts by Cardiff cloggers to knacker Adam Reach yesterday are a good example).

But Jos – known as a man who always starts at a club by sorting the defence out – brought a quiet determination and a tactical nous to a game that ended nil-nil but in the circumstances was something of a moral victory; we may still be seventeenth but for the first time in a good few weeks we are looking up instead of down. And best of all it appears that the new man’s surname is pronounced Lukay meaning that a Kylie-inspired chant can surely only be a matter of days away.

But this piece is just a bit of a coda for Uncle Jos’s predecessor. After the Carlisle win, warmed by Wednesday not only winning in the third round of the FA Cup but finally getting a home tie in the fourth round, and seeing that Swansea had knocked Wolves out, I sent out what I thought was a harmless enough tweet saying that I don’t know why but I still get a tiny warm glow whenever Carlos gets a win. In fairness I got a goodly number of likes but at the same time I got enough proper crossness back that people were talking about it in the pub yesterday. Sample selection?

“He’s put us years behind with a total lack of discipline and hideous signings and there is still this happening”

“I don’t know why either. Seeing as he only walked when his agent tapped him on shoulder”

“Stop pissing yourself and it won’t get that warm”

“Go support Swansea then – very very sad this”

“You’ve lost your mind Paul. The bloke is a total shyster. I hope Swansea are relegated by Easter”

Now I of course get that it’s the nature of the beast that managers usually walk following a bad run of form and so they rarely go with the love and best wishes of the supporters (Gary Megson may be the only honourable exception in recent years) but from a standing start you might think that the nature of the fans’ relationship with Carlos, and the workings of the man himself, meant that he would have gone with a special place still in our hearts. Who can forget the play-off pushes, those glorious nights against Arsenal and Brighton when Carlos really was our king, and the wacky sometimes Cantona-esque utterances that he sometimes came out with? By popular consent he was the most engaging guest to ever park his buns on the Alan Biggs Sheffield Live sofa and he would negotiate with the Chairman in a relaxed manner in the window of the Mercure in town so that we could all go and have a gawp (or was that just me?).

But the reality is that the higher you climb the further you fall and that really does seem to be the case with Carlos. The apparent legend of the Carlos era is increasingly not standing up to scrutiny. First up – the manner of his leaving. The popular – and hard to disprove - view is that CC would have hung on by his fingernails for as long as he could (and quite possibly the Chairman would have let him) had his agent not somehow managed to get him the Swansea gig.

What else? The tactical meltdown of this season where there was no plan B other than if we were losing to throw on as many strikers as possible. And that injury list – sack the medical team, bring in your own one and then watch as pretty much the whole of the first eleven book their beds in the Claremont. But then there is that other stuff that is coming out more and more since he left. The lack of fitness amongst the squad was always suspected but is now becoming more evident than ever, underlined by the news that one of the players who lives 90 miles away was told that for training he could arrive at 10.30 and leave by 12.30 – a regime that even Gordon “we’re all home with our feet up by 1.00” Watson would consider soft.

But possibly the biggest threat to CC’s reputation is that the club have now appointed the Anti-Carlos as his successor. Jos Luhukay seems to be a man who quietly keeps his counsel (somehow can’t see him being sent to the stands on a regular basis), who really does build from the back by making sure he’s got his defence right, and someone who seems happy to give people a chance, even chucking the young lads in and – up to now – is getting some proper payback for it.

So, still can’t properly bring myself to want to see CC go down the pan in South Wales and there’s no denying the season and a half of good things he presented us with, but now I’ve taken a bit more of a step back perhaps that warm glow is turning just a bit colder and damper.

That’s Carlos Carvalhal done then, consigned to the annals of Wednesday history. Onwards and upwards with the new king. All together now “We’ve got Jos Luhukay, Lukay, Lukay, Lukay…”

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18.08.2018
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