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Club News

Dejphon Chansiri club statement

13 September 2023

Club News

Dejphon Chansiri club statement

13 September 2023

Prior to interviews Darren recently gave to the media, I was happy to draw a line beneath his departure from our club. I had no intention of saying anything further, I had no wish to hurt him as my previous manager. But Darren chose to come out and say some things that he knows were totally untrue so I must put the record straight.

I have chosen this time around the international break so not to detract from the team and the football, which is always the priority. I feel it is the correct time to right some wrongs and hopefully for the last time.

I understand anyone who is behind Darren or did not wish to see him leave will not like the fact I am speaking out but I wish to reiterate the truth and say please understand that I have no reason to lie, I am the owner and the chairman and the responsibility for our club is with me.

I would like to say that the person who knows Darren the best in this situation is me. But he just said what the fans expect him to say. Whether that is true or not is another story and people will believe what they wish to believe, I cannot help that, but I can only say the truth. There will be people who will criticise me, I understand that, but I ask for everyone to take a step back and try to be as neutral as possible.

Darren said to the media that his leaving was not about money but a ‘vision’ that was ‘out of line’. He did not elaborate on that vision, which I believe was designed for fans to think negatively to myself based on what was supposedly said in our meetings. It is not true and I can say categorically it was about money, not football.

You will recall in my initial statement that I asked him to summarise and prepare to finalise the player list before we would start the recruitment process in the transfer window. Initially, there was no discussion about Darren’s salary because there was an automatic contract trigger with a Championship salary upon promotion. He knows how much I supported him as I always support my manager. At that point, we did not finalise any targets or players, we had general talks before he went on holiday and while he was away. I asked him to complete the list and then he brought up the issue of contracts, firstly about his team and then after we talked, his own contract, which is why I can truly state that recruitment was not the reason for his departure. I said it was important that any issues – and primarily his contract as manager – were resolved before we entered into the final details of player recruitment. So we did not speak of any ‘vision’ or budgets. I have said many times regarding all my managers, I do not give a set budget. It is up to the manager to convince me that we should recruit any individual player, irrespective of cost.

In his interview, Darren said I would not speak to his agent, which is not true. Darren’s new contract was in place at the Championship rate we agreed following promotion but he asked for more money for his team and himself, and this was not an issue for me, as I outlined before.

At the beginning when Darren joined Sheffield Wednesday from Doncaster, the agent negotiated his contract with my people, this is normal, but an agreement could not be reached so Darren asked to talk to me directly to solve the issue and then he negotiated with me so we could finish. I said in the future you can talk directly to me which is easier than asking the agent to talk, which he agreed.

So when we were relegated, Darren came to me about his contract, there was an automatic decrease in salary and he wanted an increase, which he received after we negotiated. There was no contact with his agent.

After Wembley, and during his holiday, Darren mentioned to me about new contracts for his team and we talked about his own situation despite a new contract already being in place. So I was surprised when he said in his interview that he wanted to talk about his own contract through his agent as he did not mention that at all. If he did want me to speak with his agent, he should have instructed his agent to make contact, and that did not happen at any point.

I asked Darren to send me what he wanted for himself and his team so I could study and after a few days he sent to me what he said was a guideline. I was surprised and I asked him to think about that and gave him the time to do that because the figures for himself were so high. If it was a guideline, I assumed he would negotiate the same as before. The proposal for his team was higher than normal but I did not see that as a problem. It was up to him to negotiate for himself as he did when we were relegated. Perhaps he thought his value was so high after promotion that I would agree to the figures he was asking but I must put the club first at all times.

Darren returned from his holiday and we had a face-to-face meeting. I asked him again to think very carefully and we will talk some more. We had another meeting the next day because I needed a decision but he confirmed and stood by those figures. If he wanted to negotiate, he must say so but he did not, so I had to let him go.

Despite the figures being so high – which to be clear were significantly above the average Championship manager salary – I did not have a problem with that from a financial point of view. I was happy to give him a chance because he achieved promotion, but I did not believe that level of salary was appropriate for Darren as my manager. However, I offered to increase his salary despite the new contract in place and doubled the bonus element of the contract, based on placings in the table.

On top of that, I said show me you can succeed in the Championship then we can talk again about further increases. I was prepared to be loyal to him even though I did not know how long he could last. I had been warning him for two years if he does not make changes, he would not progress the team. I offered as much support as possible in every sense for the team even though that was his role and responsibility. In the end, looking back, he agreed that what I warned about results and performances was correct. I respected his decisions as manager even if I did not always agree with them but it is my duty as chairman to try and help the best I can. After the first leg at Peterborough, I tried my best as chairman to make everybody believe we could do it. I believe we have a better squad than Peterborough but we just did not perform in the first game. If we had an average team then okay, but we have better players. I spoke to Darren, Tom Bates, Barry Bannan…I said you must believe we can do it because there was a feeling we could not turn it around. We made it to Wembley, we won the game, so Darren deserved to manage our club in the Championship and Darren and the team rightly take the credit for that success.

Darren said he believed he should earn more than the highest paid player but this is not necessarily correct in football. The proposal was a minimum of around £1.2m per year on a three-year contract. He also wanted an increased amount if we signed a player on a higher salary than himself and a 10% increase year on year, then a 100% increase if we achieved promotion to the Premier League. I said for those kind of figures I could have many choices open to me. Why would I agree to that, especially when I considered making a change three times during the season with the performances and the way the team was going. While I was happy with the points, I was not happy with the performances, which is why I warned him for some time that if we carried on this way, we would not get automatic promotion.

But I agreed to increase his salary, I tried to give him a chance because he achieved promotion. So with all this considered it was really surprising and disappointing to see him come out in the media and say things that were not true. The figures he presented were not guidelines because he did not wish to negotiate. To be 100% clear, it was not about a vision, it was not about targets, it was because I would not agree to the level of salary he proposed and I did not have complete confidence in him to manage the team in the Championship. So in the end, I had to release him. I asked him if he would prefer to say he was sacked or to leave by mutual consent because my opinion was mutual consent for his future career, even if we can no longer work together we can still be friends. We agreed mutual consent to protect him. I still wanted to see him prosper and I would not give this level of detail if the true story was told, which has not been the case.

There is this and other things I cannot accept. For example, Darren was the one who wanted to release Ben Heneghan which was his decision as the manager. I believed we should let Ben recover from his injury and then why not give him a chance? But I respected his decision. But Darren told the players that he wanted Ben to stay but the chairman wanted him to leave which is not true and unfair. If that were true, Ben would not have had the chance to fully recover at our club and train with the squad and play for the Under-21s as he continues his recovery.

After Darren did his interviews, I sent him a message and said I will answer what you have said because even though I tried to help you, you have not told the truth and this is something I cannot accept. I said we can do this together then everyone will know the truth, so we do not need to do this separately. I told him that I must answer what he said in the media so this statement will come as no surprise to him. I understand these details will not be liked by some people and not what some will want to hear but I can only speak the truth. That is something that will never change and whatever action I take will always be in the best interests of Sheffield Wednesday first.

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