SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY manager Dave Jones insists he will hold his head up high when he returns to former club Wolverhampton Wanderers this afternoon – and says he would like to leave a similar legacy at Hillsborough.
Jones was the man who led Wanderers back to the holy grail of top-flight football in 2003 after a play-off final win against Sheffield United, taking the Black Country club into the big time for the first time since 1984.
While Wolves’ Premier League odyssey lasted just a season, Jones – sacked in November 2004 – insists he laid plenty of lasting foundations to enable the club to bounce back under Mick McCarthy in 2008-09.
His current club’s exile from the top tier of English football stretches back to 2000 and Jones says that taking back a ‘special club’ to where he feels it belongs is something that drives him on.
Jones said: “I want to create a similar legacy at Sheffield Wednesday (to Wolves); I wouldn’t have come here otherwise. In my short time I have been here, I can say this is a special club.
“I had some really good times at Wolves. One of my players there is here now scouting for me in Paul Butler, who was my captain. Speak to him about his time there and he will tell you it’s a fantastic club.
“I think I took them where so-called ex-England managers and better name managers could not get to.
“I built a football club that was struggling when I went there. But when you look at the facilities they have got now, I’m part of that. I am not saying it is all down to me, but I am part of it. I left a decent legacy and want to leave one here as well.”
Jones’s immediate concern remains turning around a dip in fortunes for the Owls, who after the feast of early season are now enduring a famine, having lost their last five matches in all competitions.
While admitting that an inability to keep a consistent back four remains a bugbear, Jones is not looking for sympathy and says everyone needs to close ranks and channel the current hurt into a positive response.
He said: “There is no magic formula, but we are not that far away. We just seem to be getting punished for every mistake we make. That’s the level we are at and some of the players have got to adjust to that. It’s a learning curve.
“But what I don’t see is a blame culture and you have got to stay strong. The biggest thing you need is everyone to stick together; the fans, the players, the staff.
“The fans had 15 or 16 years of hurt and then last year was good times. We are going through a rough time at the moment, not a bad time. What the fans have got to do is do what they have done week-in, week-out – stick with us. It will turn.”