Sheffield Wednesday: Mammadov ‘will love Owls less than his other clubs’

Caolan Lavery and Liam Palmer
Caolan Lavery and Liam Palmer

Sheffield Wednesday will rank only third in the affections of new owner elect Hafiz Mammadov, according to the president of one of his other clubs.

RC Lens chief Gervais Martel has laughed off suggestions Mammadov is starting to lose interest in the French club following his takeover bid for the Owls.

He insists Mammadov has told him he loves Lens above all the other clubs with whom he is involved, meaning he is unconcerned about the Azerbaijani businessman’s latest football venture.

And he also suggests reports regarding the amount of money Mammadov will invest in Wednesday are inaccurate.

Martel said: “I can repeat what he said while I was in Baku and meeting a contact from Sheffield: “First in my heart, it’s RC Lens. Two is Atletico – I sponsor them remember – and three is Sheffield.

“This deal is part of the same strategy, not only of Hafiz Mammadov but also his country.

“This does not bother me at all.

“The figures that were announced for investments in Sheffield are quite inaccurate.”

Mammadov is the major shareholder at Lens and has a significant stake in Spanish champions and Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid.

He also owns his local club in Azerbaijan, FC Baku.

While apparently not threatened by the takeover of the Owls, Martel does share the view of Owls boss Stuart Gray that there is potential for a working relationship between the clubs which could see an exchange of players.

Gray said this week it would be to his and Wednesday’s advantage if they could call upon quality players from the French club.

And Martel seems to agree when it comes to sending players across the Channel to develop.

He said: “It is true that this deal interests me.

“It isn’t a bad deal that we would have a club like Sheffield with which we could advance a number of our players.”

Martel faced questions on Mammadov yesterday after it was revealed Lens’ promotion to Ligue Un had been suspended due to irregularities in the club’s budget for next season.