PRESS | Carlos’ trip to Fawlty Towers

PRESS | Carlos’ trip to Fawlty Towers

Carlos Carvalhal did a passable impression of Basil Fawlty at today’s press conference.

With no Manuel to hand, he vented his spleen on a £20 note. I’d say you had to be there, but it’s all over the internet already.

The last time the affable Portuguese acted up was back in May, at the height of contract-gate.

On that occasion, he was deflecting attention from his players in the build up to the play offs.

And today, he was determined to take pressure off his players in the aftermath of the derby.

He told us so. Repeatedly.


Let’s talk about Sunday


We lost three points. We lost face against our city rivals. Have we also lost hope?

When future generations are told tales of 2017’s derby, the standout memory will surely be Wednesdayites bouncing after our equaliser, falling silent as everyone bar Westwood spotted the gap at his near post and then…

Duffy. Goal. The pain.

Duffy quietens the bouncing hoards (Image: SUFC)

You want to forget but your throat’s still sore, a scratchy reminder of those joyous roaring seconds before the bubble burst.

That’s the sort of rapid comedown from a high that puts people into drug counselling for years. Should we be more Carlos and move on?

“I can’t live in the past, I must live in the present and with the future… We understand everybody hurt; we were hurt also but finished. We have a game tomorrow.”

Are we ready to splash cold water on our faces, bring ourselves back to a reality where “Birmingham is the most important game of the season” – and stop feeling anxious?

Not yet, it seems. Triggered by what must have been a hellish 48 hours fielding calls from the inebriated, our man from the BBC pursues a dogged but fair line of questioning about Wednesday’s no-show on Sunday.

Brittle backbone?

“I know that you will ask questions about the last game, but as you understand I explained everything after the game.”

No Carlos. There are still unanswered questions. What about the squad and their response to big occasions? A few weeks ago Carlos referred to the victories against Arsenal, Newcastle, Brighton as “serving up lobster for the fans”. No seafood analogies today.

“Why did you not ask me these questions last week?” he says, returning to a theme.

He’s said before that if we win one game, everything’s marvellous. We lose one game, everything’s dreadful.

And if he’s dared lift the trapdoor into social media since Sunday he’ll know everything’s an effing effing eff – the players, the coach, the strip. The chicken burgers.


“Don’t mention the war”


More questions, this time about the value for money of his squad additions in the past couple of years.

Carvalhal’s face grows darker.

“Bring me the official budgets … and after ask me the question.”

Carlos is rattled. Maybe it’s all this talk of money but shortly after his demand to scrutinise the books of our Championship rivals, the head coach dramatically pulls a £20 note from his pocket.

The following 25 seconds are nothing short of bizarre.

The note is crushed, flattened, hammered on the desk and generally abused.

At one point the room ducks involuntarily in expectation of the balled-up currency being chucked in our direction.

Carlos is channelling Basil Fawlty to make the point that, er, whatever you do to a £20 note, “it’s still the same value”. I’m not feeling brave enough to pipe up about Brexit’s impact on sterling.

It all felt like being in a school assembly watching the head teacher’s inexorable slide into a nervous breakdown. Eyes nervously fixed to the floor. The temptation to giggle.

If you are in any doubt as to whether Sunday’s defeat hurt our head coach, conjure up that image.

And then, almost as quickly as he came in, Basil has left the room and Carlos is back. Still tetchy but not at meltdown.

Carvalhal’s response to Sunday’s defeat – only our second in the league, we should remember – has been to build a wall around one wing of the massive club. To him, cutting the players off is protecting them. Their confidence is damaged, they know they’ve made mistakes, he will build them back up. “I never crucify players publicly,” he says.

Should he have allowed the players to face the press and fans on Sunday? Maybe. Should he insist a player have come to the press conference to explain or apologise? Maybe. But he didn’t. It’s a judgement call that could come back to haunt him. Maybe.




Lessons to be learned?

Carlos talks a lot about moving forward together – the owner, the coach, the players, the fans. It pains me to say it, but our visitors on Sunday showed us exactly how powerful that joint endeavour can be. We could do worse than take a leaf out of their book. For the rest of the season.

New manager Lee Carsley will be sending out the Blues at St Andrew’s for the first time, looking for their first win. He and the Birmingham fans must be wondering which Wednesday will show up on the night.

The Owls’ recent record against them isn’t too shabby, winning three of our last four league encounters. A convincing performance and another three points could present the players with their first step on the long road to redemption. And if in-form Wolves get one over on the Blades, we’ll be within touching distance of our city rivals.

Above the clouds, the sun is always shining.

.OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE



Owls Alive
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @ABGalvin

Images: SWFC, unless stated. Header – The Star, Sheffield.

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