When Dejphon Chansiri bought Sheffield Wednesday for £37.5m in 2015 the new Owls owner set a three-year target of promotion back to the Premier League.
Late in the evening of Wednesday night’s fans’ forum at Hillsborough – called to answer questions over the club’s demise over the last 18 months – Chansiri dropped a bombshell nobody expected.
The Thai businessman announced he was putting the Owls up for sale and expressed “many people will want to buy” the club he bought from Milan Mandaric nearly four years ago.
Chansiri said: “Sometimes I don’t feel like I do good enough and it makes me sad.
“I will say this official to journalists and all – I will put this club on the market and I believe many people will want to buy.
“Thank you for everyone who came (on Wednesday) and letting me be part of the swfc family.
One day you will have a new owner but while I am your chairman I will do my very best and never do anything to damage this wonderful club.Dejphon Chansiri
“One day you will have a new owner, but while I am your chairman I will do my very best and never do anything to damage this wonderful club.
“I’m very happy and I love here, but I feel sad I can’t finish my job. But I still have Wednesday in my heart.”
After twice losing out in the play-offs – Hull City and Huddersfield Town going on to claim Premier League football – and failing to meet Chansiri’s promotion plan, the Owls slumped to 15th last season.
Despite replacing Carlos Carvalhal with experienced Dutch manager Jos Luhukay in January, results and performances have not improved in 2018.
A transfer embargo this year – for breaking Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules – has not helped and the Owls currently sit 18th in the Championship.
They are just five points clear of the relegation zone, but a dozen points behind the top six after just one win in 10 games.
Chansiri said: “You don’t know how tired I am. I don’t sleep. I need to think on how to solve Financial Fair Play (FFP).
“I feel many want me to leave. I can’t do it by myself.”
Chansiri’s motives for revealing in public he wants to sell the Owls – who were linked with a Red Bull takeover last month – are unclear.
It could be an orchestrated move to try to unite supporters behind him or the Thai businessman may have simply grown weary in his attempts to bring Premier League football back to Hillsborough for the first time in nearly two decades.
On a night when fans arrived wanting answers on an array of topics – such as why players like Keiren Westwood and Sam Hutchinson had been frozen out of the first team, or if Luhukay should be sacked – they left with bigger questions to mull over.
“I’m not a super hero,” Chansiri said. “Maybe another owner has more money than me.
“Thank you for accepting me as part of Sheffield Wednesday for four years.
“If I think I’m going to leave and then damage the club – that’s not me.
“But if someone came to buy the club then 100 per cent you will know everything.”
One thing is certain, the spotlight tomorrow will fall back on Luhukay and the Owls players to deliver victory against Preston North End at Hillsborough.
The longer Wednesday’s descent down the Championship table continues – raising the unthinkable prospect of relegation back to League One – then Wednesday’s value in a potential takeover, and Chansiri’s hopes of recouping the £70m-plus he has invested in the club, will also tumble.