GARY MEGSON will be living a dream at Sheffield Wednesday after escaping a nightmare at Bolton Wanderers.
Megson was hounded out of the Reebok Stadium 14 months ago despite saving the Lancashire club from relegation and leading them to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup.
He openly admits that he has now landed his 'dream job' – as manager of his hometown club – and is aiming to lead the Owls back towards the Premier League.
Megson's first task, however, will be stopping the rot that has dragged his new club closer to the League One relegation zone than the play-off spots.
Although he will not be picking the team for today's home game with Milton Keynes Dons, Megson will be sitting on the touchline with Rob Kelly and Billy Barr who were put in temporary charge two days ago following the sacking of manager Alan Irvine.
"People might be surprised how close I am to this club," Megson said last night. "I have got an oil painting of Hillsborough on my wall at home, I have got the ball from the the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea 45 years ago, and my Dad's runners-up medal – which he thinks is worth a fortune but isn't because they didn't win.
"I know this club better than the chairman because I had two spells as a player here and, before that as a kid, I used to watch games because of the connections with my old man.
"This is the job I have always wanted, it is my dream job, and this is the only club in League One I would have considered joining."
Reflecting on the bitterness of his departure from Bolton, Megson said: "I took on the crowd there and that was my mistake. They didn't like me and, to be perfectly honest, I didn't like a lot of them.
"Things came to a head when I got the Manager of the Month award – which is a pretty big achievement when you are up against the likes of Alex Ferguson and Gus Hiddink – and they wanted me to go out on the pitch and milk it. I told them to 'stick it' because I didn't think the fans had helped me one iota."
Megson, who was appointed at Bolton after a calamitous start to the season under Sammy Lee, is still fiercely proud of his record there saying: "I would love to take Sheffield Wednesday to the places that I took Bolton.
"We got a result against Bayern Munich, we beat Inter Milan over two legs, and we beat Manchester United in the league for the first time in 40 years. I also kept the club up after its worst start in Premier League history and I got the average age of the squad down from 32 to 26, spending just 10m. Look where they are now."
His new employers have not been in the top flight for 11 years and currently sit eight points adrift of the League One play-off zone.
Megson believes that the club's supporters need to adjust their expectation levels in order to help bring back the glory days.
"Our supporters have the biggest influence on this club and the only way we can get them back is by playing good football and winning games," he said.
"People talk about Sheffield Wednesday as a massive club but the only thing that is massive about it just now is the support. Our supporters are among the top five in the country.
"But it is harder for the players now than it was during the era of Chris Waddle, David Hirst and Des Walker because, 15 years ago, this club was in the top flight and the glass always felt half-full.
"Now the supporters always feel that glass is half-empty and we have to overcome that. Some of the current players are not used to playing top-flight football and they are having to cope with top-flight expectations."
Megson expressed sympathy for his predecessor Irvine, whom he played alongside at Everton in 1981.
"During the transfer window, I believe he has signed some good players but, as managers, we are judged on results. He's a terrific guy and we have kept in touch so I will be giving him a ring," he said.
"Sometimes when you move to a club, you find that it is not organised and there is a whole load of stuff that needs sorting out off the field as well as on – but I certainly don't expect that here because of Alan."