NEW Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri has been warned he may have to incur huge financial losses in his pursuit of Premier League football.
The caution comes from outgoing owner Milan Mandaric, who has covered deficits of £5m-£6m each year at Hillsborough just to keep the Owls afloat in the Championship.
Thai businessman Chansiri has targeted promotion to the Premier League by 2017 after buying Wednesday for £37.5m.
He has already vowed to spend £1m on a new Hillsborough pitch, install a new electronic stadium scoreboard, and provide head coach Stuart Gray with funds to attract quality players in the summer.
This has led to speculation of big-money additions, like a £12m raid for Blackburn Rovers’ striker Jordan Rhodes.
And Mandaric believes Chansiri’s desire for top-flight football will “accelerate the club’s financial needs”.
“While there is no guarantee we will be promoted next year, there’s a better chance with Dejphon Chansiri,” said Mandaric. “This sale was the best decision for the club.
“He will accelerate the club’s financial needs. He loves the club, its history, and wants the club to be in the Premier League.
“Nobody wants to buy a club to stay in the Championship. If you are ambitious you have to lose money, it’s been £5m-£6m a year for this club.
“You have to accelerate that now, maybe lose more, but make it happen and get to the Premier League, where this club belongs and needs to be.
“I just hope the supporters will give him similar support to what they gave to me. I hope season ticket sales go well, and they support him; he definitely deserves it.
“He told me what he wants to do with the club, making improvements on the stadium, and giving Stuart a tremendous lift when the transfer window comes and starting to recruit players for next season.
“He’s very ambitious, doesn’t like to lose, and has got the financial backing to succeed.
“I believe if there is not a strong relationship between the supporters and the chairman, there is no success at the club. It’s that important. He (Chansiri) is already making plans for next season, you see what’s happening at this club and other clubs.
“In football there is no guarantees. If anyone tells you ‘I will be promoted next season’, I think what you should do is make a plan for the next two or three years.
“If you can do it sooner than three years, great. But there’s one thing, this gentleman wants promotion. I am quite sure he will find a way to do it.”
While Wednesday will have a bigger financial budget for next season, Mandaric does sound a note of caution, claiming Chansiri will not “waste money”.
“I am quite sure the new owner will spend some money, but he is not going to waste money,” he said. “He’s a very good businessman and knows money is going to be needed, but he’s not going to spend money without it being invested money.”
Mandaric declined to reveal how much money he had ploughed into Wednesday in his four years in charge, but did turn down bigger offers than the £37.5m Chansiri paid as he felt they were not right for the Owls.
“I am not going to make a lot of money,” he stressed. “The most important thing is the debt is paid.
“It wasn’t about the money, it was about the legacy when I leave.
“There’s always a lot of needs for money, the money you put in is risk money. My knowledge of football and business allowed me to control that risk, control the cost.
“As a business guy I would like to at least recoup my money and hopefully get some bonus when the club is in the Premier League.”
Mandaric funded Portsmouth’s rise to the Premier League, but that was over a decade ago, and the 76-year-old believes the Championship has become a far tougher league to escape over the intervening years.
Rising parachute payments for relegated Premier League teams, increased playing budgets and the £100m golden pot that comes with top-flight football means gaining promotion will only get tougher with each new season.
“The Championship has changed a lot, it’s more competitive and a stronger league,” said Mandaric. “Bigger demands on the quality and you need a lot more money.
“Money is dictated from the big guys. Players may say ‘This guy in the Premier League makes £150,000 a week, why can’t I make £30,000?’, and a Championship budget is £10,000.
“It’s a stronger league, better football, and very competitive.
“You can see now in the Championship you have 12 teams who still have a chance to be promoted come March.
“It’s a great league to be in, but this club needs the Premier League.”
Mandaric believes head coach Gray deserves the chance to lead Wednesday’s promotion challenge next season, aided by the appointment of a director of football.
“That (a director of football) was my idea, when Stuart was appointed, and I feel eventually that will be needed,” he said.
“Stuart definitely deserves a further chance, and our support next season. I hope our supporters see that.”
Owls’ match report: Page 22.