Pulis sacking latest embarrassment as Sheffield Wednesday become laughing stock

When the news broke of Sheffield Wednesday sacking Tony Pulis late on Monday night, I thought about writing another piece on another failed managerial tenure at Hillsborough and speculate over another new boss.

But what's the point?

The man sat in the dugout is becoming more and more of an irrelevance as Thai owner Dejphon Chansiri turns this once-great football club into a laughing stock.

For the record: Tony Pulis lasted 45 days. The shortest tenure of any permanent manager in Wednesday history.

He oversaw 10 games, one win, four draws and seven points. A dismal return by anyone's standards.

The football was god awful and the results did not justify the assault on the senses that was caused by witnessing them.

But four points in the last two games threatened an upturn in fortunes going into crucial back-to-back home matches with Middlesbrough and Derby.

From the second he walked into Hillsborough, Pulis insisted he would be honest with Chansiri. Honest about the disjointed playing squad and honest about his running of the football club.

The Welshman took training as usual on Monday. The club website then ran an interview with the manager praising Adam Reach whose spectacular earned Wednesday a draw at Blackburn on Saturday.

Then – as the clock approached midnight – he was relieved of his duties.

"The performances and results have not been of the level expected since Tony Pulis was appointed," Chansiri said. "There are also other issues which have had a bearing on this decision."

Other issues, he says. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out Pulis probably gave some home truths that didn't go down particularly well.

It's also worth mentioning the former Stoke boss's Owls tenure was played out to the backdrop of players not being paid correctly in November.

There's still no word on whether that has been resolved as we approach the new year.

Pulis was planning for January. As we reported on these pages last week, he was keen to bring Sam Hutchinson back to the club from Pafos in Cyprus, among others. He wanted to put his imprint on the squad.

Now, with the Owls staring down the barrel of relegation, they face going into the transfer window without a manager, or – if they act rapidly – one with just a couple of days at the helm.

Chansiri's Hillsborough tenure got off to an impressive start with successive near misses in the Championship playoffs in 2016 and 2017.

But there were already a string of strange decisions and, since Carlos Carvalhal left the club on Christmas Eve three years ago, Wednesday have lurched from one disaster to the next.

There is a certain irony that, across the Steel City, Sheffield United are threatening to have the worst season of any club in Premier League history.

But, never to be outdone, Wednesday are plumbing new depths.

The reaction on social media on Monday night was fierce. There has not been mutiny among the Owls' fanbase at a managerial sacking since Dave Allen gave Paul Sturrock his marching orders in 2006.

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But this is different. That was down to the warmth and affection felt from the supporters to a man who had come in, taken the club to heart and achieved success on the pitch on a shoestring budget.

It was met with widespread protests at the next home game against the chairman and a year later he was out of the door, in no small part down to fan power.

Pulis hasn't had time to build that rapport with the Wednesday support, but it always seemed unlikely.

The fact the paying public aren't allowed in the ground is a stroke of great fortune for Chansiri.

I have seen Hillsborough at its toxic worst and – should fans have been allowed at the stadium tonight – I'm convinced there would have been new levels.

Sheffield Wednesday is a toy to Dejphon Chansiri. He's got his name emblazoned across the shirt. He's got his name emblazoned across the seats in the north stand. He changed the badge. He got rid of stripes. He brought back stripes. He made the back-up goalkeeper wear No.2. He got a monk (not Garry) to 'bless' the stadium. He put two gold elephants outside the main entrance. He celebrated the club's 150th anniversary with a giant ball made from cake. It's his plaything.

But to thousands of people across Sheffield and beyond, it's the very fabric of who they are. It's a constant of their family through several generations.

Chansiri doesn't understand that. He will never understand that. And he is treating those people with utter disrespect and complete contempt.

Those fans will be there long after Dejphon Chansiri. As will the club. I'm convinced of that.

But it may be about to get a lot worse before it gets better. And it's difficult to see how the healing process can begin while ever Chansiri remains at the helm.

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