Why Sheffield Wednesday have made the right call in appointing Garry Monk as Steve Bruce’s replacement

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 06 September 2019, 16:02

After two months of speculation, rumours and Chinese Whispers Sheffield Wednesday have finally found an appointment for Steve Bruce, after Garry Monk was unveiled as their new manager on Friday afternoon.

Since Bruce’s departure back in July the likes of caretaker manager Lee Bullen, Chris Hughton, Danny Cowley, Gary Rowett, Tony Pulis, and Alex Neil have all been linked with the Owls but in the end the Championship club opted for Monk, who previously spent four months on loan at Wednesday during the 2002/03 season.

We may never know if the club was ever in discussions with Lincoln City’s Danny Cowley - arguably the most in-demand Football League manager at the moment - but it’s clear that they held reservations about making Bullen’s job permanent. Chris Hughton was arguably the stand-out name in the frame, however he clearly wasn’t interested, while the Owls themselves didn’t appear too keen on Pulis.

Monk, who previously appeared to be only a tentative link, returns to management for his fifth job in five years, with his last three spells all nestled within the Championship at Leeds, Middlesbrough and Birmingham.

Club longevity is not a phrase you’d associate with the opening five years of Monk’s managerial career yet he boasts both Premier League and Championship experience on his CV.

He impressed in difficult circumstances at Birmingham, led Swansea to their highest-ever Premier League finish (8th), and won 47.2% of his matches in charge of Leeds.

Monk’s 26-game spell at Middlesbrough is viewed less positively, but before his sacking there were signs of improvement - he won six of his final 10 league games - and he’d just overseen what he called at the time: ‘the best away performance of the season’. It’s also worth noting that Monk remains embroiled in controversy surrounding the role of his agent, James Featherstone, in regards to transfer deals at his former clubs.

However, after the disappointment of his Middlesbrough tenure, Monk will be rejuvenated after his spell at Birmingham where he was a breath of fresh air after the disappointments of Gianfranco Zola, Harry Redknapp (for the most part), and Steve Cotterill; creating a strong bond and sense of togetherness with both the players and community.

Monk will now look to make a similar impact at Sheffield Wednesday, where he will be hungry to galvernise his new squad and prove that he has what it takes to elevate the club back into the Promised Land of the Premier League.

It’s been a pain-staking 19 years since Wednesday last tasted top-flight football during the 1999/00 season. Since then the club has been through 13 permanent managers - Monk is the 14th - only one of which has led the club into the Championship play-offs, Carlos Carvalhal, who achieved this feat consecutively in 2016 and 2017.

Monk will have just over a week to become accustomed to his new surroundings at Hillsborough before he takes charge of his first game on Sunday 15 September in a Championship clash against Huddersfield, who at the time of writing remain managerless.

Monk does, of course, have history with the Terriers having previously come to blows with David Wagner during a hot-tempered clash back in 2017 - see video.

While a new managerial appointment always divides fans, after months of uncertainty the majority will no doubt be happy that they can at last get behind a full-time boss, and while Monk isn’t the most electric managerial appointment of all time, he’s a proven Championship manager who will look to swiftly stamp his blueprint upon his new club.

It will also be interesting to see if he attempts to get the band back together and lure over the likes of Pep Clotet and James Beattie from Birmingham.

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