Sheffield Wednesday: Mandaric desperate for success

Glenn Loovens is now under contract for the rest of the season
Glenn Loovens is now under contract for the rest of the season

For the first time in 15 years, Milan Mandaric did not fly to America to spend Christmas with his family.

He wanted to devote all his time and energy towards turning around the Owls’ fortunes.

A busy fixture programme, planning for the January transfer window, efforts to keep players, and the issue of the manager’s job, meant that there has been plenty to occupy him.

“I hope our supporters will continue to give me their support and patience,” he told The Star.

“I am desperate for success on the field and am doing everything I can for us to achieve it.

“For the first time in 15 years, I stayed here instead of taking a break with my family.

“I just want the club to be successful. For me, it’s not about money; after the money I have spent since I came here, I’m not going to get any profit even if I sell the club.”

Mandaric insists that a takeover in 2014 is not his prime concern; “There are still people interested, yes, but it’s just been talk, no proof of funds or anything concrete.

“What I’m concentrating on is running the club in the right way.

“If somebody did come along with a firm proposition, it would not just be about money: I would have to be sure that it was a proper person who was right for the club.”

It was news to him that a Russian, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was supposed to be interested in the club, as has been alleged on social media; he laughed that off.

But he feels that he has seen serious signs of a revival since Stuart Gray took over.

Pleased with the wins against Leicester and Watford, and away points at Blackburn and Charlton, he said: “At Charlton for example we passed the ball, and the intensity was there.

“I was disappointed with the Bournemouth game (a 2-1 homne defeat). But we lost Glenn Loovens for that game. When he and Roger Johnson have played together, we looked a proper team defensively.”

Loovens plays against Blackpool today after signing a new deal to the end of May.

Mandaric added: “We have also been without key players such as Michail Antonio and Lewis Buxton. But I think we are showing a lot of character, and with the money we have spent, we definitely don’t deserve to be where we are. Of course we also have to put the ball in the net; we knew we could lose Connor Wickham so have been looking at other options as well.”

Today the Owls face a Blackpool side who have picked up only one point in six games since they beat Wednesday 2-0 and brought the axe for Dave Jones.

Fans turned on Paul Ince during Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat by Brighton, though the club are still only three points off the play-offs, after a good start to the season. The Seasiders have been hit by injuries and suspensions.