According to the ever-reliable John Percy, Wednesday are in advanced talks with Tony Pulis to take over as manager. And, as you will expect, many, if not the majority of fans on Twitter, are somewhat disappointed by the news of his possible arrival. The style of football is primarily the reason why, with the view that his potential appointment doesn’t show ambition from the chairman. Or that Pulis represents short-term thinking.
Of course, everyone has thoughts on the matter, but mine may slightly differ with the opinions of others as always. The first point I think is worth clearing up is that Pulis getting the job shows a lack of ambition. Hiring Pulis, as well as a new coaching team, is going to be expensive. The chairman often says how he doesn’t enjoy spending money, so if this gets over the line, believe me, the ambition is there in pound notes.
Now, you could suggest that Pulis is a dinosaur in football terms and that his football is dull and outdated. However, a lot of those turning their nose up at Pulis for these reasons are saying we’re in a relegation scrap and that we need to do everything we can to stay up, and so on. If this is the reality of the situation, can we afford to be picky? Is it a time to moan about the style of football? And again, there are doubts over the ambition we are showing if we bring Pulis, but how many times has he overseen a relegation?
I feel if Pulis does become our new manager, he can have an impact in the short, mid and long term. And while many will disagree, or feel disappointed he’s the man taking charge; sometimes you must make the decisions which are right for the football club and the situation. If we brought one of the fan’s choices, regardless of who it is, results don’t go our way, or we put in a lousy performance, they will turn on him anyway.
In the short term, Pulis can be fantastic for us. He will immediately command the respect of everyone because of who he is. He will make us tough to beat, committed, organised, and every player will know their role and know what they’re doing and when, because of how he and his staff go about their work. The finer details are essential to Pulis, and nothing is left to chance.
In January, I imagine Pulis will want to make adjustments to his playing squad where possible. And again, because of who he is, his reputation, and the contacts he has built up over the years, it puts Wednesday in a strong position. Players will want to come to the club because of him.
Between now and the season’s end, as it is with all managers, Pulis will assess the club and the players at his disposal. He’s worked at clubs of differing sizes, with different pressures, problems and expectations. Pulis has also seen it all when it comes to players, too. He knows how a club must operate, and the people he needs within it to move it in the right direction.
I’ve heard a lot about Pulis over the years, and feel the main body of his work will come in the summer when he can do more work on the squad. He’s also known for his tough pre-seasons, where fitness is often the focus. Pulis’ teams aren’t renowned for being the best technically, as everyone knows. Still, as a manager, alongside his staff, he makes an impact on areas such as fitness, mentality and commitment to make them competitive against teams with perhaps more footballing ability.
The midterm of Pulis’ work will be about continuing the much-needed culture swap at Wednesday. It will see him drive change in terms of our mentality on the pitch and inside the football club, as he adjusts the squad to deliver on his philosophy of hard work, honesty, commitment and competitiveness.
As I’m typing this piece, Alan Biggs has dropped some information on a deal being close for Pulis and his assistant Dave Kemp to join the club. As you will expect, some fans are against the idea, especially with an apparent two and a half year deal on the table. But I believe he can be good for Sheffield Wednesday.
I mentioned above that Pulis can have an impact longterm too, and this is how. In my opinion, managers come, do their work, and the next guy takes it on further. The chain of Gary Megson, Dave Jones, Stuart Gray and Carlos is a prime example of this, in my opinion, especially Meggo and Jones. I think Pulis can do work and build foundations for the next man, and this is important.
Is the football going to be easy on the eye? No, it’s not. But can Pulis drive positive changes within, which will move the club in the right direction? Absolutely. Fans will say that all they want are players to give their all, and Pulis and his staff will make this a fundamental of Sheffield Wednesday moving forward. If there is progress. If we’re harder to beat, and if we become masters at pinching points and wins, I’m all for it.