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Sunday roast: Don't air this dirty linen in public, Sir Jack.

Byline: LEE GIBSON

WHILE it isn't usual for the Sunday Roast to stick up for football managers it was difficult not to feel a little sympathy for Dave Jones this week.

The Molineux boss had to pick up newspapers and read banner headlines about criticism of him from the club's owner, Sir Jack Hayward. The Wolves benefactor is unhappy that Jones' side are not challenging for the automatic promotion spot he claims the manager 'promised' if he was given the money to buy Paul Ince and Dennis Irwin.

And the Bahamas-based multimillionaire revealed to reporters that Jones had been told 'in no uncertain terms' what was required.

Now, before you think we've all gone soft at the Sunday Roast, I'd better point out that Hayward undoubtedly has a point.

Jones was bought in after Graham Taylor, Mark McGhee and Colin Lee before him had repeatedly failed to take Wolves that final furlong and into the Premiership.

However, the former Stockport and Southampton boss missed out, too, last season when his side were defeated by Norwich in the play-offs - the latest in a growing list of 'nearly' campaigns for the fans. And despite spending now totalling pounds 14 million, and the arrival this season of Ince and Irwin, Jones' team are again falling way below expectation at this stage of the campaign.

But I have to question Hayward's motives for airing this particular dirty linen in public.

Although great for us newspapermen, what was Hayward possibly hoping to achieve by bringing his views out into the open rather than just keeping them private between himself and his manager?

He has only increased the pressure on Jones at a crucial stage of the season and certainly is not creating the image of a united club pulling together on all fronts.

The weight of expectation at Wolves is always higher than at many other First Division clubs and Jones knew that when he took the job. He does not need his employer increasing that pressure.

At the end of the day it was Sir Jack who appointed the manager and, if he doesn't feel Jones is doing the job he is being paid to do, he can sack him.

If he is not prepared to do that yet, then surely it would be more dignified and better for all concerned if he were more prudent with his outbursts.

CAPTION(S):

PUBLIC ROW... Wolves' owner, Sir Jack Hayward, has criticised manager Dave Jones for not putting the side in line for automatic promotion
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2003
Words:419
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