Sheffield Wednesday must ensure they don't waste Darren Moore's excellent work - Stuart Rayner
Football life seems even more rollercoaster when the gates are that much bigger, and in the 21st Century when the social media presence is that much greater, opinions are louder and the extremes more visible.
Finally, in Darren Moore, the Owls appeared to have found a manager who could calm those waters and with it a successful formula, but his departure – and the timing of it – have set the wave machine running again.
The full story is yet to come out but it appears to be a problem of their own making.
At times as a journalist Moore was frustratingly sensible, always careful not to go overboard, unwilling to ever get too high or too low. When fans no doubt wanted to hear him tear into his players after a shocking 4-0 play-off semi-final defeat at Peterborough United, the only responses they got were measured. Moore kept calm, carried on and led his side to one of the most remarkable two-legged turnarounds in football history.
That, and the fact he was a genuinely good guy, were why you could forgive all the platitudes and dodged questions: you knew he was doing the right thing for his football club.
In fairness to Dejphon Chansiri, a chairman whose finger rarely seemed far from the trigger and often rather itchy, he saw it too.
Brought in from Doncaster Rovers as a last throw of the dice to escape Championship relegation in March 2021, Moore failed, but Chansiri saw past it, to the fact his manager had been hospitalised with a serious bout of Covid-19 during the run-in, to the progress made regardless, to the commonsense brought to the Hillsborough madness.
Expected to win promotion the next season because that is what relegated big clubs should do in League One, ignoring the lessons of recent history that they seldom do, Moore failed again, his team freezing in the play-off semi-finals against Sunderland.
Once more, Chansiri stayed patient, believing lessons would be learnt.
In a largely brilliant 2022-23 which saw all manner of club records broken, Moore flirted with failure once more, the Owls losing their nerve in the run-in whilst Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town kept theirs. Wednesday made unwanted history as the first team to take 96 points into the play-offs.
After the remarkable brinkmanship against Peterborough they nearly messed things up against Barnsley, given a one-man advantage more than 70 minutes of a 120-minute-plus final by Adam Phillips's red card, only to win it with Josh Windass's diving header in stoppage-time of extra-time.
It was debatable if they deserved it on the day, but inarguable over the season.
Chansiri's patience saw Moore become only the fourth Owls manager of the last 18 to make it to 100 games.
Now it seems a failure to recognise what they had might have caught up with them.
Moore recognised the need to go with battle-hardened players for the slog of League One but the squad needed refreshing with more vitality for the step up in class to come. Key players like Barry Bannan, Liam Palmer, Will Vaulks, Michael Smith and Lee Gregory are of an age where logic dictates their performance should be on a downward trajectory, youngsters like Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and Dennis Adeniran were not good enough to displace them.
January saw an uncomfortable lack of signings and when Moore surprisingly walked out "by mutual consent" on Monday evening, there had been none yet this summer. There have been suggestions that Chansiri was reluctant to provide the level of investment his manager wanted.
So, like Barnsley in 2021 and Huddersfield Town in 2022, the Owls have lost a successful manager late in the close season. Most Championship clubs are back in pre-season next week but too many – including Leeds United and Swansea City who are interested in Barnsley’s Michael Duff – do not know who will be running the show.
At Wednesday it is, of course, more extreme, with head of recruitment David Downes having left for Blackpool and Moore's backroom staff following him out.
At Barnsley, two years ago, such disruption ultimately set them on the path to relegation. Last year, Huddersfield came perilously close. Like the Owls, both had reached the previous season's play-offs.
Moore had a particular way of operating based around a deliberately small and ultra-versatile squad. It is not to everybody's liking but if Chansiri picks a successor uncomfortable working that way, he will struggle.
"We are where we are," was one of Moore's favourite non-committal phrases, along with "we turn the page".
The recriminations over how a good manager has slipped through their fingers are almost an irrelevance. What matters now is that Chansiri turns to the right page to ensure that two years of stability and progress are not squandered.