A New Broom for a Not So Big Club!
Thoughts on an eventful week so far at S6

When Garry Monk was appointed there was a fairly negative reaction from lots on fans on Twitter etc. This was reflected in the next paper WOTMT with plenty of captions addressing these points. During his reign that negativity followed him right up until the day of his departure. I always hoped he might come good, and on Boxing Day at 3pm, I thought he might be set fair, but the collapse at the Britannia Stadium haunted the rest of his time at S6. There were times after that when I thought it might be ok – the wins at Brighton, Leeds, QPR and Birmingham – but even the addition of fresh players and coaches just didn’t do it. The performances against Luton, Rotherham and Wycombe were shambolic; only a clear win over Millwall might have saved him and that could not be delivered. So, in the end it was no surprise when DC did the deed. GM is a decent bloke, he tried hard and recognised the need to build a better relationship with fans but, ultimately, he fell massively short on the pitch.

Personally, I would have liked Paul Cook to have got the gig – he would have been a blast of fresh air, has a decent record and plays exciting good football. Nigel P was never going to satisfy the clamour from fans to fill the hot seat. Would Lee Johnson have just been another GM? For me Ryan Lowe is one for the future, but in at the deep end of a Championship relegation battle at Wednesday would have been a big risk. But DC landed on Tony Pulis – the tough cookie from the docks area of Newport in South Wales who grew up with his Mum and Maltese Dad, sleeping four to a bed with his three brothers. From a working-class background he has made a career in football as an average player and successful manager. He has managed 2 clubs in the PL, won promotion to the PL and recently finished in the play-off spot and 7th in the Championship. He’s no managerial mug and he might just be the right person for our current circumstances.

Many fans, including me, have talked about the need for DC to employ a Director of Football at SWFC but he has rigidly resisted that call. But he did employ Steve Bruce and Bruce did appear to have a wider brief to improve the operation of the football side of the club – maybe a semi-DOF? SB walked out and only history will tell how much of that was ‘push’ from stuff not going to plan at Wednesday or ‘pull’ from the lure of Newcastle. In my view it still needs a big figure to take control of football operations at Hillsborough and I hope TP is that person – he has the history, the experience, the connections and influence to do the job that is needed. I just hope that he is allowed to do it. In my view the club has generally been better when a big figure from the game has been in charge – Big Jack, Big Ron, Tricky Trev and I hope Tony P will be the next. I do recognise that the style of football he has been associated with will worry some fans, I get that, it is my concern too. But, when I think back to the excitement that Howard Wilkinson gave us with a physical, direct and hard-working style of play I would accept that again right now. In the end if it’s winning football will many fans continue to complain? What we do know is that he will bring structure, organisation and discipline to the team and that some players may well get a rocket up a certain part of their anatomy!

The absolutely critical objective is to stay in the Championship this season, given his record of never being relegated we hope he can achieve that. In the Summer 14 players are out of contract and that creates the opportunity to complete the rebuild that started 2 years ago which is needed. If he can ally that to a renewal of football operations at the club, bringing to it the wealth of experience and knowledge that he has, the club could be in a much better place. More power to his elbow, and he deserves a support in those efforts. He could be helped by the Club engaging fans in an open conversation about the size of the club and what are the realistic expectations of what can be achieved, and over what timescale, for a club of our size, with the resources available, and what the fans can reasonably be expected to contribute to that in ticket prices etc. DC is right to say that SWFC is not a big club but he also has a responsibility to help fans get their heads round what is practically possible and to help them manage their own expectations. We will see if that process is forthcoming. IN the meantime it's a welcome to Tony Pulis.


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