Sheffield Wednesday appoint ex-Town defender as caretaker boss after Pulis sacking

Sheffield Wednesday first team coach Neil Thompson on the touchline prior to kick-off

Former Ipswich Town defender Neil Thompson is in temporary charge of Sheffield Wednesday - Credit: PA

Former Ipswich Town defender Neil Thompson is in temporary charge of Sheffield Wednesday following the sacking of Tony Pulis. 

The Welshman was fired last night after just 10 games and 45 days in charge at Hillsborough, with the Owls sitting 23rd in the Championship and facing the very real prospect of relegation to League One. 

Thompson, who has coached at Wednesday since 2011, has stepped in as caretaker from his usual role as first-team coach and will take charge of his first game this evening when his side take on Middlesbrough.  

File photo dated 08-12-2020 of Sheffield Wednesday manager Tony Pulis.

Tony Pulis was sacked as manager of Sheffield Wednesday after just 45 days in charge - Credit: PA

The former left-back, who made more than 200 appearances for Town between 1989 and 1986, has previous managerial experience dating back to his spells with York City, Scarborough and Boston United. 

He is now charged with steadying the ship while Wednesday search for a new manager, with Nigel Pearson, Gus Poyet, Jose Morais and Paul Cook said to be among the early favourites. 

Whoever takes the job will inherit a side which is battling a six-point deduction for breaking the Championship’s profit and sustainability rules, with disagreements with ownership said to be behind Pulis’s departure less than two months after his appointment. 

Neil Thompson, celebrating a goal against Tranmere Rovers in 1991

Neil Thompson made over 200 appearances for Ipswich Town - Credit: Archant

A statement from Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri said: “The performances and results have not been of the level expected since Tony Pulis was appointed. There are also other issues which have had a bearing on this decision. 

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“On the pitch, seven points from a possible 30 is not acceptable. It is vital we maintain our Championship status and I feel I must make a change now with over half of the season remaining to give us the best possible chance of doing so.” 

Since joining Wednesday in 2011, Thompson has held a variety of jobs through the club’s youth academy and now into the first-team, notably taking the Owls’ Under 23s to the Professional Development League title in 2017. 

Speaking during an interview with the Kings of Anglia podcast over the summer, he said: “I’ve done a bit of everything through youth teams up to senior level and really enjoy coaching. 

“I’m really grateful I’ve been able to have a career in football playing at some fantastic clubs and then to be able to stay in the game as a coach. 

“I know there are a lot of people out there who have played the game to a much higher level than me who have found it hard to get into the coaching side of things, so I feel very privileged for sure. 

“It can be a brutal industry at times but there are certainly worse ways to earn a living.” 

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