Owls hit the spot with Monk appointment

Sheffield Wednesday
Garry Monk's future as Birmingham City manager is in doubt ahead of the new Championship season, it has been reported.

Garry Monk might not be the new manager the majority of Sheffield Wednesday fans will get too excited about, but he could well be a shrewd appointment.

The 40-year-old was confirmed as the new man at the helm at Hillsborough as the Championship side has been waiting to bring in the right man to replace Steve Bruce, who departed for Newcastle in July.

There was talk of current Lincoln boss Danny Cowley and the out-of-work Tony Pulis being handed the reins, while caretaker Lee Bullen boosted his own chances with three wins from the Owls’ opening four matches of the season.

But two successive losses against Preston and QPR respectively prompted owner Dejphon Chansiri to bring in a more experienced head.

On the face of it Monk’s managerial record to date does not exactly exude success, but delve deeper and he is a man who can do a job on a relative show-string budget.

His first taste of management saw him thrown in at the deep end by Swansea supremo Huw Jenkins as he was called upon to replace the axed Michael Laudrup in February 2014.

Operating in a player-manager role, Monk thrived as he guided the south Wales outfit to Premier League safety.

His first full season at the Liberty Stadium helm was a roaring success as the Swans accrued a record top-flight points tally and secured eighth position.

But, a run of one win in 11 in the first half of the 2015-16 season, resulted in the axe falling to end his 12-year stint at the club.

Monk’s next role came with Leeds United, who were looking for a manager to push them on from mid-table mediocrity to a genuine promotion-chasing Championship outfit.

The Whites looked a shoe-in for the play-offs only to miss out on the final day of the season in May 2017 when Fulham snatched sixth spot.

There was plenty of optimism that Monk could push on and have Leeds battling for automatic promotion the following season.

However, he was enticed to the North-East with Middlesbrough, who were armed with parachute money and a strong desire to make a quick return to the Premier League.

The Boro job is the only real black mark on his managerial CV as it seemed Monk had too much money and blew huge sums on new players with seemingly no thought on how they would fit into a functioning team.

His spell on Teesside lasted half of the 2017-18 season with the sack confirmed the night before Christmas Eve as Boro went into the festive fixtures massively underachieving in mid-table.

Monk was only out of work for three months when Birmingham came calling and, like at Swansea and Leeds, he worked his magic with limited resources.

Five wins out of the 11 matches remaining in that season guided Blues to Championship safety.

The second season saw Monk only able to sign one player for a fee and up to five loans or free transfers as City had to operate under an EFL-imposed business plan.

And, despite a nine-point deduction late last season, the Blues were comfortably safe from relegation in 17th.

A fall-out with the club’s chief executive Xuandong Ren resulted in Monk being dismissed in the summer.

Allegations have since been made against him by Birmingham, as well as Leeds and Middlesbrough, over his desire for agent James Featherstone to be used in all transfer dealings.

Monk has since strenuously denied any wrongdoing and is said to be pondering legal action against the claims levied against him.

He now has another managerial role to get his teeth into and it is another club looking to reach the promised land of Premier League football without gambling huge transfer sums and breaking the EFL’s financial fair play rules to achieve that goal.

The Owls’ biggest outlay in the summer was to spend around £1million on Massimo Luongo from QPR, while they brought in over £4m from selling Lucas Joao to Reading.

Monk still has a competitive squad to work with and one he can mould into a strong unit given plenty of time – something he has yet to have much of at any of his previous clubs.