LUHUKAY | Angela meets new Owls boss

LUHUKAY | Angela meets new Owls boss

Jos Luhukay was introduced to the media yesterday in a slightly giddy atmosphere fuelled by pie, chips, and Sky TV. I know!

While the cynic might say nothing signals change more than serving pies to the press, someone with a sunnier outlook would scan the horizon for other signs that we are witnessing the dawn of a new era. Again.

A change in venue to accommodate the catering and the numbers shows the club still provokes interest. Not since the press conference before September’s Sheffield derby have so many cameras, digital recorders and notepads been assembled.

An affable Katrien Meire stands to one side of the room; the new CEO allowing the TV lights and attention to focus on the chairman and the man he has appointed to grasp the nettle at S6.

Having passed muster with Mr Chansiri, Monday marked the beginning of Luhukay’s public trial by media and fans.

He seemed to quite enjoy it. And the chairman seemed quietly pleased with himself too as he described the process that resulted in what has been viewed as a slightly left-field outcome.

Anyone expecting to see an ad in the Sheffield Star, a link to a job description and person spec and a hint at a salary ‘commensurate with experience’ would have been disappointed.

In the absence of traditional recruitment methods, social media decided to fill the void.

Over the fortnight since Carlos jumped ship, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Essentials of the job ranged from speaking English as a first language (desirable: born clutching bottle of Hendo’s), having once played for Wednesday (desirable: as did your father), to showing passion (desirable: via the medium of interpretative dance on the touchline).

Mr Chansiri’s view is a lot more focused. Essential: Getting promotion to the Premier League. As soon as possible.

Eyes on the prize

Simple really. Chansiri told a network of advisers what he was looking for and they came back to him with names and CVs.

The chairman was keen to emphasise he had interviewed several candidates for the vacancy.

Some of them may even have been on the bookies’ favourites list put together within hours of Carlos leaving. Others may not have been.

One or two stayed as front-runners for slightly longer than you might wish. Paul Lambert, Steve McLaren, Brendan Rodgers, Paolo Fonseca, Gus Poyet all came and went on the odds checkers.

Our Jos was a late entry to the field, as far as the bookies were concerned anyway.

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. And on first impressions, Jos came across pretty well.

We’ve all googled his CV and know about the promotions his teams have won, his career in the Bundesliga and his fondness for keeping clean sheets. In person he expands a little on his approach – a ‘shared philosophy’ according to Mr C.

Luhukay boasts an impressive CV

He describes himself as liking football (bonus!) and having passion.

And he understands that his first match as manager – yes, that one against Sheffield United, at Bramall Lane, on Friday – will be fuelled by “emotion, atmosphere and passion…[providing] more motivation to play good football.”

His left eye may have twitched slightly when Mr Chansiri declared promotion this season was still a possibility; it relaxed a bit when the chairman described this scenario as a miracle.

And there was full on eye contact when the chairman declared “there will be funds available in January. We will do our best; we will do what we need.”

He seems respectful, both to his predecessor, noting the previous two ‘fantastic’ seasons under Carlos, where the Premier League ‘was very close,’ and to other managers, politely refusing an opportunity to compare David Wagner’s achievements at Huddersfield with his own just yet.

He wouldn’t be drawn on a veiled question about the balance of power between his role and the new CEO. And he was equally “so what” about why his title is Manager versus Carlos’ Head Coach.

In short, Jos Luhukay comes across as realistic. He is aware of the challenges of an under-performing squad, depleted by injury and suffering a dip in confidence.

January funds available for Jos

And although he arrives at S6 with a disciplinarian reputation, he appears more than capable of putting his arm around a shoulder, trying to understand “the quality and person” of his players and opening opportunities for youngsters in the squad to “show off.”

His widely quoted remark about the importance or not of experience in English football is less interesting than his rather endearing aside about the tradition, the fans and the atmosphere. “I am nervous about what I will make of that,” he says.

So there we have it.

Nobody said anything untoward.

No-one ate all the pies.

The main characters were enthusiastic.

The club put on a nice spread and a good show.

We don’t really do Roy of the Rovers endings, do we?

If we did, poor old Bully, so valiant as a player, would have led the team to four straight wins in his brief interim stint.

If we did, Friday night is set up for a stonking victory against our neighbours, all seven goals scored by under-23 debutants brought in to shore up an injury raddled squad. Surprise sub Katrien Meire saves a penalty.

Instead, there will be a pre-match press conference and Jos will reveal a little bit more about his impressions of the club and the derby. Then there will be the derby. Then it will be Saturday morning and we can all move on.

Let’s see what happens.

Above all, let’s give the bloke more than a few soundbites and 90 minutes on Friday evening to show us what he’s all about.

Owls Alive
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @ABGalvin

Images: SWFC, unless stated. Header belongs to author.


  1. Nice summary thanks! Let’s hope these good vibes keep up regardless of the next few results! Seems like a nice guy

  2. I like your style Angela

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *