Laws a victim of Wednesday's lofty aspirations
Take a look around the Sheffield Wednesday 606 message board and you will find a remarkable level of goodwill towards Brian Laws, who parted company with the south Yorkshire club on Sunday.
Gloucester Owl "wanted BL to be the man to take us back to the Premier League", while StealthyOwl simply wrote "thanks for the memories Brian".
Those memories included a rare league double over Sheffield rivals United last season and a decent push for a play-off place at the end of the 2006-07 campaign.
Laws appeared to be running out of ideas at Wednesday
Laws had succeeded Paul Sturrock in November 2006, leaving the comfort of Scunthorpe United, where he had been in charge for more than 500 games. So ingrained was his association with the Iron that one morning early in his tenure as Owls boss he instinctively started to drive towards his former club's training ground.
It was ambition that had driven Laws to test himself at a bigger club - and he told me shortly after taking over that he wanted to bring stability to a club that had got through nine managers in 10 years.
In this respect Laws has been a success. At the time of his departure from Wednesday he had become the 16th longest-serving manager in the top four divisions, sandwiched between Sean O'Driscoll at Doncaster and Nigel Adkins, the man who succeeded him at Glanford Park.
I guess that what he has now also discovered is that the bigger the club, the shorter the leash. That and the fact that Championship chairmen start to get twitchy as we reach this stage of the season with their team mired at the wrong end of the table.
Darren Ferguson's departure from Peterborough on 10 November came so early that it suggested other reasons besides Posh's entanglement in the bottom three but Plymouth's decision to move Paul Sturrock upstairs last week hints at the increasing sense of urgency obviously shared by Owls chairman Lee Strafford.
Wednesday lost 3-0 at Leicester on Saturday and afterwards Laws sounded short of ideas. Reflecting that the awful first-half performance did not reflect well on him and his coaching staff probably did not sit too well with Strafford. As did the fact that his team have become so inconsistent he no longer knew which Wednesday are likely to turn up on any given matchday.
After the defeat, Laws conjured phrases likes chalk and cheese, Keystone Kops and lower than a snake's belly as he discussed Wednesday's predicament. Laws is a man whose glass is perennially half full but he admitted he was struggling to pick up any positives. He sounded like a man without a Plan B.
The defeat, combined with Ipswich's win over Blackpool, saw the Owls drop into the bottom three.
Wednesday have not won in nine games since they defeated Coventry on 17 October - and they are now firmly in a relegation scrap. They are in a rut and Laws has become the 19th Football League manager to part company with his employers this season (though Strurrock has moved upstairs at Argyle).
The current form runs in sharp contrast to the plans for Wednesday by chairman and life-long supporter Strafford.
I met Strafford for lunch in the summer. He had only taken over as chairman in January and admitted he was still wearing "L plates". Nonetheless, I quickly discovered that an hour in his company is to be deluged by an avalanche of ideas as he fires them out one after another.
It all boiled down to his vision to "fix the Sheffield Wednesday family" after years of financial uncertainty and poor communication with the supporters, who have fallen victim to a malaise about the club.
The 37-year-old has since had his plans approved for a £22m redevelopment of the stadium, which will see the capacity increase from 39,000 to 45,000, while the shirt sponsor this season is the well-respected Children's Hospital in Sheffield.
He is also actively seeking investors to inject money into the club and has hired New York-based investment bank Inner Circle Sports to find them.
A lot of what Strafford is about is changing the culture and attitude at the Owls - but as he has obviously quickly discovered the success of a football club will be primarily determined by what happens on the pitch regardless of how much work is happening off it.
Strafford's vision will not be realised until Wednesday are in the Premier League, but as things stand League One is the direction in which they are heading. When I spoke to Strafford he sounded to have a genuine admiration and respect for Laws but as a chairman he has the success of the club as his over-riding priority.
Some supporters are already questioning whether Strafford has acted too hastily. Wednesday's season has not even reached its halfway point and there is ample time - and a January transfer window - in which to manufacture a change of fortune.
After all, Wednesday lost their first six games of the 2007-08 season but Laws managed to turn that situation around.
Wednesday do have some good players, the likes of Marcus Tudgay and Lee Grant, but by Laws own admission his team have disappointed this season. Summer signings such as defender Darren Purse have come in for heavy criticism.
The squad has been assembled largely by Laws and to an extent he must at least accept his portion of the blame for their collective shortcomings.
Yet even so, it speaks volumes about the fragility of football management that a job that looked fairly secure just a few weeks ago could end in the sack just a few weeks later.
Laws is a well-respected figure and a genuinely decent bloke. He was popular with the Wednesday fans and I think StealthyOwl surmised the situation perfectly when he wrote: "Although I was outspoken on wanting Laws to go that does not mean I do not like the bloke."
Strafford now faces the challenge of making his first managerial appointment. It will be a decision of crucial importance.
Names like Bryan Robson, Nigel Worthington and Steve Coppell have already been mentioned, as has Chris Waddle, who would certainly be an interesting choice.
Who do Wednesday need to fulfil the short-term aim of climbing the Championship table and the long-term vision of the promised land of top-flight football?