Sheffield Wednesday: Mandaric urges Owls fans to back Chansiri

Old and new: Dejphon Chansiri with former owner Milan Mandaric
Old and new: Dejphon Chansiri with former owner Milan Mandaric

In times of big change at Hillsborough, it is reassuring to know, if you are a follower of the Owls, that owner Dejphon Chansiri is listening to an experienced, football-mad person.

Milan Mandaric may have sold the Championship club to the Thai businessman at the start of March, but the Serbian-American entrepreneur continues to offer friendly advice to Chansiri.

Mandaric told The Star: “I do talk to Dejphon [Chansiri] quite frequently. We have had very close dialogue.

“But Dejphon is his own man and got his own ideas. He knows what he wants to do and how he wants to do it.

“He is desperate to fulfil everyone’s wishes and get the club in the Premier League. He gave me the full commitment that he’s going to spend the money to do that and I believe he will. I believe he is a man of substance and integrity.”

After over four years at the helm, Mandaric agreed to step aside, conceding Chansiri was better placed to accelerate the Owls’ chances of becoming a Premier League side again in the near future.

Former head coach Stuart Gray

Former head coach Stuart Gray

For a fan’s view of Hillsborough happenings, click here

Shortly are completing the takeover, Chansiri said he wants to lead the club back into the top-flight. He then promised to invest £1 million in a new state-of-the-art pitch and agreed to spend a six-figure sum on installing a new electronic stadium scoreboard.

Work is well under way with these tasks and whetted the appetite of fans ahead of the summer months.

In recent weeks, however, there have been a few murmurings of discontent, with some Wednesdayites questioning the direction the club are heading in under Chansiri.

The club have only just confirmed their pre-season schedule, are currently without a head coach after dispensing with Stuart Gray’s services and have just 13 senior players on their books. Pre-season training is set to begin on July 1. All that early promise and positivity seems to be fading.

Then there is the small matter of Wednesday’s sporting director by committee. Two members of the original three-man task force, Gray and Adam Pearson, are no longer there. Glenn Roeder continues to lend support to Chansiri and has been joined by Paul Senior and Jonathan Hill.

Many Wednesdayites are sceptical over whether the European model can work but Mandaric is urging fans to get behind Chansiri.

“It is difficult to say one way or another whether it (the committee) will be a success but I firmly believe Dejphon has a desire to do what’s best for the club,” said Mandaric. “He has invested in a giant screen and is repairing the awful pitch that we had to play on last year. Why would somebody do that if he doesn’t want to move the club forward? Before we start to doubt or criticise him, we have got to give him a chance and support him.”

With limited resources at his disposal, Gray did a good job in stabalising the club in the Championship but paid the price for a lack of home goals and wins.

“I have talked to Stuart [Gray] since the decision; he is a good, honest man and did a very good job,” admitted Mandaric. “I don’t think he will be out of the game for long. He’s a good coach.

“I have a lot of time for Stuart and I think, to be honest with you, Dejphon likes him as well.

“He just wanted to bring in his own man and feels he has to go in a different direction. It is just one of those things that happens quite often in football.”

Whoever Wednesday decide to appoint as their next head coach, Mandaric is backing Chansiri to provide them with significant funds in the transfer market.

He said: “When you take over a club, you always want to put your own ideas in place and maybe change some people. It is your pregorative to bring in new people.

“Dejphon is desperate to take the club to the Premier League and he’s very ambitious with that. He will try to find the right formula to get the club there and I hope he just gets support from everyone and that he surrounds himself with the right people.

“Dejphon will do what is needed and spend serious money on the team. He knows he’s going to need more quality for the Premier League so I think he’s prepared for that.”

But Mandaric added: “He is a guy who will not throw away money wastefully. He will make sure they select the right players and that they add value.”