A Good Start
Thoughts on the Jos exit and Steve Bruce arrival

I would never have described myself as Jos fan but I was sympathetic to the position he found himself in with injuries, an ageing squad and a transfer embargo to contend with. And there were times when I thought he had achieved breakthrough, particularly at the back end of last season and when we hit the dizzy heights of the top 6 in this season. I recall the tremendous performance and win at Villa this season and that was achieve without Hutch or Westwood being anywhere near the team, yet at Hull without Jos in the dug out and with Westwood in goal and Hutch in midfield we produced one of those terrible performances – think QPR and Bristol City away last season – that Jos was slammed for. So, there were clearly some things that were down to Jos and some that were probably more down to the players than him, but he paid the price in the end, and he needed to, given the climate around the club at that time.

So, Steve Bruce is now in the house and he is most welcome. The state of the club feels like that time when Big Ron came in, on both occasions, in that it all just needs a massive lift from a bit of an authority figure who has the clout to offer it. I thought he spoke well at in all the press conference interviews – calm, realistic and positive - and he even stopped himself referring to us as “Sheffield”. The hopes for the Steve Bruce era will be pinging off the wall for some Wednesdayites with dreams of a charge for the play-offs this season. My hopes are a bit more grounded than that and I hope:

  • He can successfully manage expectations of the fans. He made a good start yesterday and he will need to keep that up. I suspect this will be a long haul given the scale of squad re-structuring needed and the financial position of the club against the P&S rules. He doesn’t need to be criticised for not getting us up in one season
  • He obtains and retains absolute control over player arrivals and departures. No more advisers operating in grey spaces please.
  • He is able to wheel and deal in the market. He has taken the job in full knowledge of our position.  He will need to sell players and there will be no room for sentiment as far as individual players are concerned, if the manager determines a player needs to move on to enable wider squad development then so be it and we will need to support him. We saw a bit of what he can do yesterday with 3 players in, all in the right positions.
  • He goes with a new squad model that targets younger players who will have re-sale value if the greater good of the club means we need to sell one or two.
  • He develops a pay policy that ensures we can build a squad that is consistent with the resources we can deploy on the first team. The days of players on £25k plus per week need to be over soon.
  • He builds a team with an identity so that the players know where they fit in it and what their respective jobs are, and fans can watch them say “we can see what they are trying to do”.
  • He receives the patience of fans. He is going to have to do some difficult things and stuff won’t always go quite as we would like it to. The first team operation needs rebuilding and he deserves our support in his attempts to do it.

In Steve Bruce we haven’t appointed a new Eddie Howe but we have brought in a manager with tons of experience, a big contacts book, good media relations and one who knows the league we are in. He has a track of success in the Championship, and he is someone who wants, maybe as a final step in his managerial career, to lift one of English football’s famous names out of the doldrums. He deserves our support – let’s give it to him. 

Plans for the 2nd edition of the All Wednesday fanzine continue. It will be out on 23rd February at the Swansea game, and watch this space and Twitter for news of mail order sales.

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