Ron Springett In The Net - Sheffield Wednesday

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Reesh1867

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Sheffield Wednesday
#31 23/08/2019 at 13:44

As most footballers were straightening out their beach towels and getting a dose of sun and sea this summer, Morgan Fox was heaving bags of sand across fields in the Lake District.

Just weeks after the end of the last Championship campaign, the 25-year-old packed a suitcase and headed north to enrol in what has been described as a “military-style” pre-season training programme.

The Sheffield Wednesday defender, who notched 29 appearances in 2018-19, was putting in the hard yards well before the club’s official preparations for the new campaign started.

Along with Bristol City’s Josh Brownhill and Mansfield midfielder Otis Khan, Fox was pushed to the limit in the Cumbrian countryside as he took part in endurance runs, lake swims and weight training. The trio were joined by former Rochdale player Joe Thompson in a gruelling day-long 45km bike ride, described by the ex-midfielder as one of “the most satisfying days of my life”.

Ahead of his third full season with Wednesday, Fox had exceeded breaking point physically and mentally before even kicking a ball.


It’s hardly surprising, then, that he was able to overcome hostility from a minority of home supporters in the Hillsborough crowd during Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Luton.

The former Charlton man, drafted in at left back in place of the injured Liam Palmer, was booed as his name was read out before kick-off and then again in the first 45 minutes as Wednesday tried to find a way through a resolute Hatters defence.

It’s not the first time Fox has been on the receiving end of criticism from Owls fans. He also came under heavy fire at times last season during a frustrating first half of the campaign for all in S6.

Quite why he has become an easy target is unclear, although his propensity to turn inside and pass the ball along the back line rather than advance up the wing seemed to be the source of the disgruntled voices during the first half against Luton. Fox is not as naturally inclined to overlap in the way fans have grown used to seeing from Palmer, but the booing could have a negative effect on both him and the team if it continues.

Despite this, a strong second-half performance earned plaudits from interim manager Lee Bullen who expressed his disappointment at Fox’s treatment by some Wednesdayites: “It’s just not the support base that I know. I know how positive and how complimentary and supportive they can be, and it just proved the difference in the second half when they were cheering when the kid was doing great and getting after it.

“That’s a kid who plays in a blue and white strip and will run through a brick wall for the football club. All he wants is good for the club and the players are 100 percent backing him and the rest of the players are affected by that as well. He showed a lot of heart and a lot of strength to put on that second-half performance.

“His second-half performance was outstanding and he made a match-saving block inside the 18-yard box. It was as important as any penalty save in the past or anything like that. That one block wins us that game, because that was a massive opportunity.”

The numbers back up Bullen’s praise, with Fox making 10 interceptions and winning 90 percent of his defensive duels against Luton. Often the scapegoat when the whole team is under-performing, Fox’s mental discipline has prepared him for what team-mates Kadeem Harris and Adam Reach branded “unnecessary stick”.

But how could the reception from those few unhappy Owls fans affect Fox’s performance? Depending on a player’s mindset, crowd noise can distract or motivate according to Dr James Rumbold, a chartered psychologist in the Academy of Sport and Physical Activity at Sheffield Hallam University.

“When players are that focused on playing, they tend to focus their attention on the ball, the positioning of their team-mates and opposition and communicating with team-mates in close proximity,” said Rumbold.

“We often liken this in sport psychology to looking through a tunnel or tube, you see the black around the circular hole, you see what is at the end of the circular hole and that’s all. Anything else around that (eg, crowd noise) gets blurred or filtered out from our focal attention.

“Players may even have personal game strategies in their mind at the start of the game that keeps them focused away from the boos. At the elite level, it is possible for players not to hear booing in sections of the stadium if their focus is completely tuned in to their performance.”

Despite having some fans on his back before he had even played a minute of the new campaign, Fox showed no signs of doubting his defensive capabilities and proved a point with a solid performance against Luton’s tricky rotating front three of Kazenga LuaLua, Harry Cornick and James Collins. Thriving on the pressure of hostility is one natural reaction, but it could impact Fox in the long term.

“Player mindset here though is really important,” said Rumbold, “because some players who do notice the crowd boos may use this as fuel to prove a point, work harder in a game and thrive on the pressure of the boos.

“With it being early-season in the Championship, it also offers the opportunity for players not to get too frustrated by the boos and work hard to ‘win over’ the fans. Obviously if the booing continues over a series of games over the course of the season, then players may begin to ‘tune in’, get distracted and their focus on performance could subsequently be negatively affected.”

Abuse from your own fans can prove more distracting than that from opposition supporters because it is unexpected and can have a contagion effect, where negative or positive responses spread throughout multiple players in a team.

So Wednesdayites with an anti-Fox agenda, branded ‘morons’ by fellow Owls fans on social media, could be having a wider impact than they intend when they voice their disapproval.

But if that emphatic block against Luton and the steely look of determination in his eyes during video of his pre-season camp are any measure, Fox’s mental resilience will see him rise above the noise.

Consilio et Animis 

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DPCSF

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Sheffield Wednesday
#32 23/08/2019 at 20:20

Any links to her article, “should Leppings Lane be knocked down” ?  

Be water, my friend 

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Baresi

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Sheffield Wednesday
#33 24/08/2019 at 17:47

Nancy Frostick doing a post-match Q&A now on the site. 

I ask you will Galway bate Mayo? Not if they have Willie Joe...they haven't a hope of beating Mayo! 

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DPCSF

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Sheffield Wednesday
#34 24/08/2019 at 23:30

Nancy Frostick doing a post-match Q&A now on the site.
Baresi, 24/08/2019 at 17:47


https://media1.giphy.com/media/PYEGoZXABB Muk/source.gif

Be water, my friend 

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Baresi

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Sheffield Wednesday
#35 28/08/2019 at 23:08

https://www.prolificnorth.co.uk/news/publ ishing-news/2019/08/star-hires-new-sheffi eld-wednesday-writer-after-athletic-depar ture

New Star writer replaces Nancy Frostick following her departure to The Athletic.
Obviously knew bugger all about Wednesday before coming to The Star... should fit right in then. 

I ask you will Galway bate Mayo? Not if they have Willie Joe...they haven't a hope of beating Mayo! 

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Reesh1867

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Sheffield Wednesday
#36 29/08/2019 at 08:57

He's actually pretty damn good compared to the rest. IMHO 

Consilio et Animis 

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bricat

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Sheffield Wednesday
#37 29/08/2019 at 11:04

Very dry sense of humour too. 

Fuck 'em. This city will always be ours. 

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DPCSF

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Sheffield Wednesday
#38 30/08/2019 at 14:11

Dom’s Number 2? Sick

Be water, my friend 

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Owling_Wolf

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Sheffield Wednesday

Yellow Card

#39 30/08/2019 at 15:28

Dom’s Number 2? Sick
DPCSF, 30/08/2019 at 14:11

Bigsmile

We must not give opposition teams hope. We have to kill them. 

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Baresi

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Sheffield Wednesday
#40 01/09/2019 at 13:02

Just subscribed to their free trial.

The American started sports news thing has began its attempts to corner the UK footy market, they've hired 44 journos from across the top papers, and The Star.

Nancy Frostick is ours, she's done a fairly decent piece on Harris and Murphy today.
Reesh1867, 12/08/2019 at 12:47


https://theathletic.com/1173314/2019/08/3 1/i-couldnt-tell-the-club-but-i-used-to-g o-out-and-ride-a-horse-twice-a-week-when- i-was-at-sheffield-wednesday/

Great interview with Andy McCulloch on there today, God bless him...Salute

Post edited on 01/09/2019 at 13:02 by Baresi

I ask you will Galway bate Mayo? Not if they have Willie Joe...they haven't a hope of beating Mayo! 

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Reesh1867

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Sheffield Wednesday
#41 11/09/2019 at 08:31

After 53 days of rumour, uncertainty and fluctuating betting odds since Steve Bruce’s departure, Sheffield Wednesday finally have their new manager and he is Garry Monk — “the best man for the job” in the words of owner and chairman Dejphon Chansiri.

It’s been a long and bumpy journey since Monk bowed out of the Premier League limelight at Swansea, with Championship stops at Leeds, Middlesbrough and Birmingham following in the last five years. The move to Wednesday is said to have come about in the space of 48 hours, after the club came close to landing the Cowley brothers, Danny and Nicky, who have since joined Huddersfield from League One Lincoln after leading the Imps to two promotions and FA Trophy glory in recent years.

It will now be Monk v Danny Cowley when Wednesday visit Huddersfield on Sunday.

After flirting with one 40-year-old manager, Wednesday landed another. But what exactly are the Owls going to get from Monk?

Where the new manager might be at his most effective in his early days is off the pitch.

Monk, who played 15 matches for Wednesday during a loan spell from Southampton in 2002-03, has a reputation for quickly uniting a fan base and bringing an air of positivity. He was popular with fans and players at Birmingham and ran a fairly happy ship at Leeds, negotiating clashes between players with discipline and authority, according to insiders.

A very modern manager and meticulous planner, Monk has been known to record training sessions and watch them back to ensure his message is effectively communicated. At Swansea, players were given three bullet points to consider and one message to digest in each session, while frequent meetings either with the entire squad, individuals or playing units were common. Little is left to chance. At Monk’s previous clubs, training would involve the manager giving his experienced coaching team objectives and ideas scripted weeks or months in advance.

Monk’s backroom staff at Hillsborough has yet to be confirmed, despite his solo arrival at Middlewood Road last week. Caretaker boss Lee Bullen and his associates will remain as part of the coaching set-up but Monk has left the door open to the possibility of further coaching recruits. A loyal group of coaches and support staff have worked with him at all four previous clubs, not least James Beattie, who is the most likely to join the Owls.

Beattie — along with Pep Clotet, Sean Rush, Darryl Flahavan and Ryan Needs — all stayed at Birmingham after Monk’s departure at the end of last season. But it is understood former Sheffield United striker Beattie, 41, no longer sees eye to eye with current Blues chief Clotet and, should Wednesday table an offer for him, it would be readily accepted. Beattie’s relationship with Monk is strong and the impact of their arrival at St Andrew’s was praised as they whipped the Blues squad into shape quickly.

At Leeds and Swansea, fitness levels were high. Monk had 30 “Snoozeboxes” — temporary tent-like bedrooms with showers, beds, air-conditioning and WiFi to help players relax and recover — installed at Swansea’s training ground to allow players to rest properly between sessions during pre-season. His intensity and attention to detail has not always been wholly positive, however, with some at Middlesbrough feeling there was too much emphasis on the opposition rather than his own players.

In matches, there have been continuities between Monk’s sides in the style of play and the formations he has used.

His brand of football has been deemed pragmatic and direct, playing to his teams’ strengths rather than being tactically ambitious. That has involved deploying a lone striker, as Wednesday have done at times with Steven Fletcher this season.

Chris Wood at Leeds and Wilfried Bony for Swansea are examples of where that worked to good effect for the new Owls manager. Wood netted 30 goals for Monk’s Leeds with Pablo Hernandez operating behind him in a No 10 role during the 2016-17 season, while Bony scored 16 times under him before securing a £30 million move to Manchester City.

At Birmingham, winger Jota was the creative focus alongside two front-men in Che Adams and Lukas Jutkiewicz, so the onus isn’t always on a lone striker. Pacy wingers — something Wednesday have in Kadeem Harris and Jacob Murphy this season — have also been a feature of Monk sides, particularly on the break at Swansea courtesy of Nathan Dyer and Jefferson Montero.

At Swansea, there is a lingering impression that, despite their record eighth-place Premier League finish, Monk’s tenure marked the end of the ‘Swansalona’ way cultivated under Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup. Defensively, Monk’s Swans showed strength in soaking up pressure and then hitting opponents on the counter — a slight divergence from the flowing football expected at the Liberty Stadium. That was in part attributed to Clotet, whose influence is said to have led to tactical changes in south Wales.

Yet five clubs in five years for a manager who is still only 40 conjures up a certain image.

Monk — father to daughter Remy, nine, and five-year-old twin boys Louis and Theo — has never spent more than 22 months in charge anywhere. His longest spell was his first appointment at Swansea, the club he served with distinction as defender and captain before being appointed player-manager as Laudrup’s successor in February 2014. So why the rapid succession of workplaces in the second tier?

“Managing up” is as much a part of the job as on-field activities. Monk’s departures from both Leeds and Birmingham are said to have been due to a breakdown in communication with key figures in authority.

The new Wednesday manager is known to have strong opinions, is decisive and will stick to his principles. This has contributed to his downfall at previous clubs and it will be interesting to see how Monk’s forthright approach plays out with Chansiri given his tendency to stick to his guns and micromanage.

At Leeds, contract negotiations were where club and manager were not on the same page. Monk felt he deserved a better deal than the one on the table, understood to be a one-year offer, while the club maintain he never fully engaged in discussions after Andrea Radrizzani’s takeover. Even though Leeds finished outside of the play-off places, the feeling was that they had somewhat overachieved to mount such a challenge, although they should not have let a top-six spot slip.

Monk’s activities in the transfer market have attracted attention since his departure from Birmingham, too. Middlesbrough decided to investigate a number of deals involving their ex-manager and his agent James Featherstone to determine whether the pair had always acted in the best interests of the club. Monk and Featherstone strongly denied any wrong-doing.

Birmingham chief executive Xuandong Ren made accusations of a similar ilk, claiming: “What hurt them, or really seemed to get them worried, was when I said I was not going to allow them to get involved with every single transfer anymore.” It is understood the Blues had worked with Featherstone under previous managers and had voluntarily used him on a retainer during Monk’s tenure.

When asked at his Owls unveiling about Ren’s comments, which Monk had earlier branded “disappointing”, the new boss said: “It’s not my focus. Right now it’s about Sheffield Wednesday, about the honour of being here, the excitement to be here and getting to work. That’s the only thing that really matters. You know the truth and when it’s inside you know what you want to do. I’ve always understood that and not been deterred by stuff I can’t control and nonsense that might be put out there.”

Monk has previously spoken of the importance of being strong enough to know what he needs in the transfer market. Signing the right “types of player” is said to be important to him, as he favours thinkers with the right attitude and willing to work hard — not surprising given his meticulous coaching methods.

At Wednesday, he has already stressed there will be a clean slate for players to impress before the transfer window re-opens in January.

As he told The Coaches’ Voice in 2018, Monk approaches a new job “knowing what you are going into: the situation, get as much information as possible”.

Homework done, then, Monk will know exactly what he has signed up for at Wednesday.

Owls fans will hope his research pays off as both club and manager seek a period of stability.

(Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Consilio et Animis 

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DPCSF

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Sheffield Wednesday
#42 11/09/2019 at 11:27

Reads well, he needs to stop the snide c**tery that follow him around, the agent issue is also a bit worrying. Main thing is he wins games, if he concentrates on that then there could be summat there.

Be water, my friend 

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CDLF

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Sheffield Wednesday
#43 11/09/2019 at 11:38

Reads well, he needs to stop the snide c**tery that follow him around, the agent issue is also a bit worrying. Main thing is he wins games, if he concentrates on that then there could be summat there.

DPCSF, 11/09/2019 at 11:27


Could you be more specific as to his "snide c**tery" for those of us who don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

Thanks  

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harryspeakup

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#44 11/09/2019 at 12:34

"Caretaker boss Lee Bullen and his associates will remain as part of the coaching set-up"
not for long hopefully

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Hirsty's 12th Pint

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Sheffield Wednesday
#45 12/09/2019 at 08:26

Reads well, he needs to stop the snide c**tery that follow him around, the agent issue is also a bit worrying. Main thing is he wins games, if he concentrates on that then there could be summat there.

DPCSF, 11/09/2019 at 11:27


The article reads very well and now the dust has settled it seems a sensible appointment and looking forward to seeing what it will bring.

Monk does seem to have an edge to him but don't think that is too bad a thing and hope that can lend itself to the team in a way and being more authoritative on the pitch.

With regards the Agent issue don't think this is a huge concern as nothing will happen without Chansiris agreement anyway.


 

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