Rohl's Sheffield Wednesday success hinges on . . .
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Rohl’s Sheffield Wednesday success hinges on Chansiri’s support for further progress.

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Sheffield Wednesday fans are rarely more concerned than when things are going well. Their ability to self-destruct under chairman Dejphon Chansiri is well known.

Given where they were at the start of December, things appear to be going extremely well on Saturday, when a point at Sunderland will seal a spectacular escape from relegation.

It owes everything to Danny Rohl, a first-time manager who turned 35 this weekend.

But dread is bordering on anticipation that whilst it might not be Rohl’s last game at the Stadium of Light, it could be his Owls finale.

Less than a year ago, the club overcame a 4-0 first-leg deficit to win their League One play-off semi-final against Peterborough United on penalties, before defeating South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley in the last seconds of extra time at Wembley.

Manager Darren Moore resigned within weeks, citing disagreements with his chairman.

Granted, Moore’s involvement in two relegations this season – Huddersfield Town to and Port Vale from League One – has made it appear less catastrophic, but it required tearing everything down and beginning over, which went horribly wrong.

Two points from 11 league matches resulted in the poorest start in the history of both the club and the Championship, as well as the sacking coach Xisco Munoz.

Before getting on a Rohl, they had six points from 17 matches, with ten coming from safety.

To think that just a win for Birmingham City or Plymouth Argyle (who host Hull City) and an Owls defeat at a rudderless Sunderland, who have won two of their previous 14 games, could send them down is incredible.

It’s no surprise that the Black Cats are reportedly interested in hiring Rohl as manager for the following season. The Owls certainly are.

A young but experienced manager who plays high-pressing football with a hint of pragmatism checks off a number of boxes.

To see Rohl connect with fans in the most German of ways at the end of a match is to see a man who appears to be in love, but when questioned, the cracks appear.

I inquired about the bad condition of the Hillsborough pitch.

“We have to do a lot of things at our club,” was his terse reply.

Later he added: “I enjoy my team, I enjoy the supporters and I enjoy my coaching team.” Maybe he just forgot to mention his notorious chairman. Maybe.

Wins cure many diseases, but Rohl’s frustrations appear to have set in.

He recently scolded the team for having 19 players with contracts expiring in the next few months.

In an interview last week, he stated that he could manage the team in League One… with a big if.

“It makes no sense to just use this (supporter) power, we need other power and another direction,” he argued. “It’s about the squad, facilities, environments, all these things.”

Things Chansiri has not excelled at. The ball is firmly in Rohl’s court to create the environment and trust that will motivate him to accomplish what he started.

 

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