Following Tuesday’s fans forum here at Hillsborough and subsequent correspondence to the club, chairman Dejphon Chansiri has conducted an in-house and in-depth interview to clarify and expand upon answers to the questions raised below:
CAN YOU GIVE DETAILS ON WHY DARREN MOORE LEFT THE CLUB?
First of all, let me make it clear that Darren’s departure had nothing to do with our recruitment process. That applies to the January transfer window and the process we will follow in the summer window. It was also nothing to do with budgets for the season ahead.
Regarding January, the recruitment team – which the manager has always been a part of since I was here – identified targets. We got Aden Flint over the line and were very close on one more that Darren wished to bring in with my full support. Unfortunately, the club who we were negotiating with changed their mind at the last minute and we were unable to complete the deal, but this is football.
My belief was that we had a Championship squad playing in League One but of course if the manager wishes to add to the squad, I offer my full support as much as I can, which has always been the case. Any player we recruit in any window must be better than what we have to improve the squad, we will always do our best to make any transfer happen in that situation.
Our main recruitment drive was last summer and I believe the squad was good enough for promotion. But if the manager wants more, because of injuries or whatever, I will always help with that where possible in the January window.
I was asked the question on Tuesday – ‘do you think fans would agree with Darren leaving if I clarified more?’ I said some fans may, some may not, it would depend on personal opinion. I said I do not like to talk too much about personal situations and I stand by that. The only thing I can add is that if I revealed the reasons, I am sure the majority would agree why we mutually agreed to go our separate ways.
CAN YOU CLARIFY THE SITUATION ON THE NEW MANAGER?
We have had many applications, from big names to names who are not so familiar. But it doesn’t matter to me about names, the most important thing is that the new manager will be the right fit for Sheffield Wednesday.
Football is not like any other business, one coach with a great CV can do not so well and the opposite of that is true as well. This is football, there is always risk. But I can assure everyone that I will appoint the best manager I believe for our club.
Of course my preference is to have the manager in place for when the players return but at the same time, this appointment will not be rushed. It is all about getting the right manager for our club, whether that is from the UK or overseas or anywhere in the world.
I want a manager who plays attacking football and it will not be based on money, it will be based on coaching ability and who can bring the right philosophy to Sheffield Wednesday. We must always look to improve as a club.
CAN YOU OUTLINE THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS ONCE THE NEW MANAGER IS IN PLACE?
I have to make clear once again that the final decision on any player identified will be 100% with the manager. He will always have the final say, every time. That has been the same throughout my time here and that policy will stay the same.
The manager works as part of the recruitment team, who provide a list of players that after all considerations is narrowed down to a shortlist presented to me as chairman. The manager will make the decision on the player and I will see if it can be achieved or not.
I will always support the best way I can. The new manager will work exactly the same way. Of course, he cannot completely disturb the squad of players we already have, that is not possible at any club. But he will work with the team and bring his own players identified to the team and after that the process is the same.
The recruitment team analyse every part of the player and then a decision is made from the shortlist. David Downes has left the club for personal reasons but if the head of a department leaves any team, that team should be able to move forward following the same process, it is never about one person.
We have other people in the team who can negotiate and we will continue to evolve. The new manager will come in and put forward his players, maybe take some players out, and then we follow the process.
I was also asked on Tuesday once again about the situation of Amadeu (Paixao) and I am happy to clarify again, the same as before. Amadeu is my personal advisor, my private advisor, that is his position. He is part of the team and all the people in the team are important to me. It doesn’t mean they are the ones that can influence things or make decisions, that is always the manager or myself as chairman.
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE BUDGET FOR THE NEW SEASON?
The manager will not have a fixed budget, there must be flexibility. Every manager who comes here knows everything about the club before he signs, there are no surprises. We debate every aspect before the appointment so the manager is across every situation.
In my time, if the manager puts forward a convincing case for a player then we will look at that proposal and then decide if it is feasible or not.
That player and any other player identified will be the final decision of the manager. As chairman, I always support every manager as much as I can, which has been the situation since I have been here.
NOW WE ARE BACK IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, WHAT IS THE SITUATION WITH FFP?
The same as every other club. We must work within the limits of FFP and comply. One fan asked on Tuesday if we will be dealing with free transfers, loans or players with fees. I would say the difference is not always so great.
Just because you pay a transfer fee it doesn’t make that deal or that player better, it just means there is a transfer fee. But with loans for example, the wages can be very high and actually turn out to be more expensive. Wages can be high on a free transfer as well, the same.
The most important part is recruiting the right player for Sheffield Wednesday and that is what we always try to achieve, whether there is a transfer fee, a loan with a fee, or a free transfer, as we have seen in the past.
What is certain is that we cannot inject a lot of money into year one, then more into year two and so on in the Championship, that is when it can create problems with FFP in the Championship.
We must have ambition while staying in the framework of FFP. I have ambition, we all have ambition, we all want to get to the Premier League.
If we do not have ambition then then there is no point in getting promoted. Now we are promoted, we must have ambition, which is why my aim is to get promoted again, or we may as well have stayed in League One.
But I cannot do it by myself because of FFP. We need to drive every revenue possible across every area to make the club sustainable whilst keeping the ambition alive to reach the Premier League.
WHAT ABOUT THE PRICES OF SEASON TICKETS?
We have phases of Season Ticket sales and the price of the Early Bird started at £395 on the Kop. It started low because of loyalty to the fans and this cost the club over £1m in potential ticket revenue. For example, prices could be higher at the first phase. Each phase will always go up in price, that is normal.
There are more phases so the rise in price is smaller through each phase and gives more flexibility to the fans. Let me make it clear, I appreciate and say thank you to every fan who has bought any kind of ticket or anything from our club.
Sometimes because of my English, some may ‘catch my word’ but it is never my intention to criticise any fan, apart from someone, a small minority as I always say, who is consistently negative and tries to cause damage who I am always prepared to meet face to face. If anyone buys a Season Ticket, a match ticket or who may not even buy any ticket at all and support with your heart, I appreciate the fans very much and say thank you to you all.
I was asked by a fan on Tuesday: “If you reduce the price of Season Tickets to £400 you would sell 30,000, is this something you could do?” My response has been widely reported but not the question itself, but my answer is the same. If we sold 30,000 Season Tickets, which would be possible, the cost would be reduced to £400, with the balance refunded immediately. If we could sell that number of Season Tickets then that is my pledge.
Overall, my message is that we must drive every revenue possible to be competitive and stay within the constraints of FFP. I always say the truth, because we have to balance. I understand any fan who has any issue that prevents them buying a ticket and we have different schemes to help, like finance with V12 which allows fans to spread the payment and interest-free with the Owls Mastercard.
But not everyone can afford which is why I highlighted on Tuesday our Community Engagement Scheme, which has been in place since my first year. I am happy that we have had emails this week from fans who wish to join this scheme. It is there to help and our door is always open to talk.
I will continue to do the best I can for Sheffield Wednesday and all I can ask is that our loyal fans do the same, together as one. We will start the season with a new manager, we will have new players to join our squad and I am looking forward to another exciting season.