ADAM PEARSON believes Sheffield Wednesday are one of only three clubs currently residing outside the Premier League still capable of making a huge impact among the elite.
The former Hull City chairman yesterday joined Glenn Roeder, one-time manager of West Ham United and Newcastle United, on a three-man football committee at Hillsborough that will also feature head coach Stuart Gray.
Wednesday’s ground-breaking management set-up is the master plan of chairman Dejphon Chansiri, the Thai businessman who paid £37.5m to buy the club earlier this year and wipe out their existing debts.
The Bangkok-based 46-year-old believes Pearson, Roeder and Gray can realise the target he outlined on succeeding Milan Mandaric in February of taking the Owls into the top flight by 2017, the club’s 150th anniversary year.
“Sheffield Wednesday is a fantastic project to get involved in,” said Pearson, back in football almost three years after leaving Hull following a second spell at the KC Stadium as head of football operations under the Allam family.
“The chairman is ambitious, frighteningly ambitious, and that attracted me. I have spent too much time in the Championship and the chairman has all the attributes to get this club into the Premier League.
“This is one of only three clubs left outside the Premier League who could go in and make a huge impact. In this area, Leeds is the only other one. But Sheffield Wednesday has the tradition, the size of support and ground to make an impact.
“I have been coming here for many, many years and there is no better football club when it is rocking.
“The chairman approached me, we had several meetings and the first thing that struck me was his enthusiasm and also the resources at the club’s disposal.
“I couldn’t ask to work for a better football club. We can put it into the higher echelons of the Premier League.”
Roeder, like Pearson, has been appointed as an adviser to Chansiri. The two men will work closely alongside head coach Gray and are expected to share an office, most likely at the training ground. All three men will be involved in the recruitment process, primarily with Roeder scouting both at home and abroad, and discussing potential targets with Gray and Pearson. Only when agreement is reached will any approaches to clubs be made.
Gray, who has impressed the new hierarchy since last month’s takeover, will have sole control over team selection and all coaching matters.
Pearson’s initial remit is to ensure Wednesday get good value in the transfer market through negotiations, while in the long term both he and Roeder plan to evaluate the club’s off-field set-up and look for possible improvements.
Chansiri has already committed to installing a new pitch at Hillsborough, the troublesome old one set to be ripped up after the weekend derby against Leeds United.
On the new management structure in S6, Chansiri, speaking through an interpreter, said: “We have chosen the committee because everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses.
“With these two gentlemen, we can use their strengths to achieve the goals of Sheffield Wednesday.
“There is vast experience here, including that of the head coach. The committee will be spending the necessary amount to invest in the players to achieve our goal of getting to the Premier League by 2017. We hope the fans will be excited about that.”
Roeder, a former England coach under Glenn Hoddle, admits to having been surprised to discover, on first learning of potential interest from Wednesday, that the club had been out of the top flight since 2000.
“That is too long,” said the former defender. “I managed two Premier League clubs, two clubs where we had a seventh-placed finish. Currently, Sheffield Wednesday are not in the top flight, but this club’s name is equally as big as those two clubs.”
Asked about the new set-up, Roeder, whose most recent job in football was scouting for Gerard Houllier and Alex McLeish at Aston Villa, added: “This is a role I have waited a long time to achieve. Recruitment is one of my strengths. I have had two meetings with the chairman and both times I came away thinking, ‘I want to work for you’.
“What he was saying was how I feel about the role. As for Stuart, all football people know each other to varying degrees, some much closer with some than others.
“But I know Stuart quite well. I also know his reputation for being a good coach on the training field and I look forward to working with him and Adam, who also has an excellent reputation. Adam has many contacts, which will be very important to us.”
Pearson has stressed that his new role at Hillsborough will have no impact on the running of Super League club Hull FC.
He added: “I own the club but there is a board that runs Hull FC. I am fully committed to Sheffield Wednesday alongside the committee.”