In a move that indicates levels of sense not previously associated with dealings at the JJB, Paul Jewell has removed himself from the speculation surrounding the Latics Manager’s post. Despite a reportedly ridiculous offer being put on the table, Jewell has stuck to the line that he took in May stating that he’s had his time at Latics, enjoyed it but that he’s taken the club as far as he could and that it is still time for him to be moving on.
According to the press, the deal that Whelan offered Jewell last week would have made him one of the highest paid managers outside of the top four and given him a hefty wedge just for the privilege of signing a contract. How much truth there is in this is debatable, but the wages on offer would have been enough to pay for a more than reasonable striker, something that would solve many of the problems the new manager is likely to face over the next six or so months.
Jewell’s rejection of this offer will please some of the club’s fans, but at the same time comments made yesterday will also serve to irritate many of the anti-Jewell lobby. Referring to the reaction to rumours linking him with the job, he complained that people would get the impression that he’d taken Latics from the top to the third flight in short measure, not the other way around. A bit harsh? Not to anyone who has spent any time on any of the club’s message boards recently.
So with Jewell out of the running who’s next up in the list of candidates? The press can’t agree on this one and none of them seem to have an inside track as they take turns speculating on Chris Hutchings’ successor. Whelan’s announcement yesterday that he is in “advanced discussions” with an “outstanding candidate” has a few people salivating, but the most concrete suggestion that they can come up with is Joe ‘handball, what handball?’ Royle a man whose popularity at the JJB extends only a little way beyond our latest board member.
Alex McLeish seems to remain the favourite amongst the fans, with many clinging onto the possibility that defeat to Italy on Saturday will see the Scotland boss looking for a fresh challenge. Chances are though that the lure of taking his country through World Cup qualification holds more pull than a dodgy relegation battle in the premiership.
And there I paused for a day at the coalface, by the time I returned things had changed considerably, more of which later…