Sheffield Wednesday: Owls bidder has proved ‘popular owner in France’

Milan Mandaric has allegedly agreed a deal to sell the Owls to Hafiz Mammadov
Milan Mandaric has allegedly agreed a deal to sell the Owls to Hafiz Mammadov
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The man at the centre of the latest attempted takeover of the Owls has proved a popular owner of RC Lens according to French football expert Steve Wyss.

Azerbaijani businessman Hafiz Mammadov is alleged to have made agreed a deal to buy Wednesday from Milan Mandaric.

He bought RC Lens last summer and oversaw the club’s return to the top flight, making him a hit with fans.

“He’s popular because he’s delivered what supporters wanted,” said Wyss of

“Lens have been in the second tier for two or three years which was really poor for them.

“It’s not just about the success though, it’s the way he’s handled himself.

“He’s not interfered. He puts money into a club and then step back. He appoints a few people to run the club and he’s not an owner who insists certain players are signed.

“He got involved last season when Lens went through a bad run and he started to put pressure on then but that was about it really.”

Despite the success with Lens, Wyss believes Mammadov is still looking for a big football project and that the Owls fit the bill.

Wyss said: “Getting Wednesday into the Premier League has that feel of that bigger project he’s looking for.

“Taking Lens back up was not that big an achievement. Nothing substantial needed doing, it was all about getting them on the right path.

“There wasn’t a massive change in personnel and only two or three signings were made in January to keep them on course.

“One of his other big goals is to put Azerbaijani football on the map. I wouldn’t be surprised if he sent over a few young Azerbaijani players if he took over at Wednesday, just for the experience at least.”

One of Mammadov’s first acts as owner was to sack manager Éric Sikora and replace him with former PSG boss Antoine Kombouaré.

But Stuart Gray should not neccesarily be worried should Mammadov take over.

Wyss said: “The manager was likely to be sacked because Lens had been on a poor run.

“Mammadov wanted to appoint a manager who could get Lens promoted and he brought someone in with ridiculous pedigree for the second tier.”

Should Mammadov be successful in his buyout of Wednesday, he is unlikely to be a regular face at Hillsborough next season.

But when he does appear, supporters would know about it.

“He doesn’t watch many games,” Wyss said. “I think he was only at three of Lens’ games last season.

“But there was always a bit of a spectacle about it when he does show up.

“He brings a big entourage with him when he does.

“Security is a big thing in Azerbaijan and he is always arrives with plenty of bodyguards.

“He did demand they win on one occasion.”