Alan Biggs at Large: Dejphon Chansiri must change radically or sell the club

Sheffield Wednesday has been like watching a car crash in slow motion.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 12:23 pm

At first a few bystanders shouting warnings from the roadside, the clamour rising. Managers trying to climb in beside the driver.

Former managers yelling “watch out.” Famous ex players angrily sounding the alarm. Fans holding their heads in their hands. But the man at the wheel paying no heed and driving straight on ahead.

To use another analogy, only one person seems not to have seen the writing on the wall - and the evidence was again written large in the aftermath of relegation.

Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri.

Wednesday had not done any planning for League One because “it was all about staying in the league”, according to a distraught and largely blameless fourth manager of the season. But the owner‘s later statement, likely pre-written, claimed: “We have had plans for both scenarios.”

Shades of meaning, maybe, but also confusion. If Wednesday had planned, it would not have tallied with the short-sightedness and mismanagement that has brought the club to its knees.

Not planning for a relegation that had loomed large for weeks would seem astonishing; equally so the team going into a make-or-break game without any clarification of a week-old report that some players - yet again - had not been paid.

For all the considerable difficulties and distractions of the pandemic, it’s incredible - and yet unsurprising - for the club to react to its fate after the fact.

Smart clubs behave differently to the way this Wednesday regime is woefully run.

Not a preach considering the city’s double relegation, but in 2019-20 Bramall Lane’s head of recruitment Paul Mitchell told me he was preparing for THREE scenarios during what turned out to be the

Blades’ promotion to the Premier League. One for staying down, another for going up and a third for doing unexpectedly well (as happened).

Granted, subsequent mishaps on recruitment contributed to United’s own relegation but the main targets would have headed it off. And this sort of prep is normal, not the exception.

Hillsborough is hollow, lacking a chief executive, reliant by design of the owner on him micro-managing from Thailand. On and off the field, the club feels empty, soulless; reactive rather than proactive.

The likes of Howard Wilkinson and Chris Turner have, I have heard, had offers of help turned aside and former chairman Sir Dave Richards also, say some sources.

The gaping hole at the heart of the club simply must be filled now by a business and football executive supporting Darren Moore - while Dejphon Chansiri, whose methods have failed, takes a step back.

Either change - radically - or sell the club for a realistic price. No in-betweens here. The choice is that clear-cut.

Set a budget and trust a proper professional in-house team to work within it. Let them - NOT you - judge the valuations of players, decide who should be signed or jettisoned accordingly, join up the dots on a pre-set plan.

The current piecemeal, scattergun approach, operating on the final say of a football novice who has not learned from multiple mistakes, has crumbled into predictable chaos.

Amadeu Paixao apart, who are Chansiri’s advisors? And considering the power he and they wield, where is their accountability?

Why are the managers, whoever it happens to be, fronting up to questions it is seemingly impossible for them to answer, whether it be on wages or transfers?

Wednesday are not alone here. The real movers and shakers in football, either within clubs or the game’s administration, lie hidden.

Which is not to say Chansiri shirks responsibility, as his welcome statement of apology makes clear. He just needs to share it.

Surely he also has a responsibility to himself as well? To gain more from his commitment? Not to mention his greater responsibility to a club and fans beset by his own apparent intractability and pig-headedness.

As such, he really must now listen to the very many well-meaning people who - in more respectful terms that utterly failed - have genuinely tried to help. And stop him turning this into a car crash of a club.