The Owls Supporters Trust make an explosive statement as Dejphon Chansiri speaks on Sheffield Wednesday’s relegation from the Championship.
In 650-words, they have demanded for change from the very top at the club, just minutes after they drew 3-3 at Derby County, meaning the South Yorkshire club would be back in League One for the first time since the 2011/12 season.
The open letter, sent to the club, reveals a series of ‘priorities for change’ on various matters ranging from ticket pricing to the handling of the club by owner Dejphon Chansiri.
The Trust, a board made up of a range of figures including former manager Chris Turner, former Owls communications manager Steven Chu and football finance expert Dr Dan Plumley, had previously sent an open letter to Chansiri in February expressing their concerns for the future of the club.
The statement in full, including the letter sent to Wednesday, can be seen below:
“Although relegation to League One has been expected for several weeks, expectation does not lessen the pain now it is confirmed. The twelve, and ultimately six, point deduction we began the season with cast a cloud over the season before it began.
“The two Independent Panel hearings confirmed that the points deduction was imposed, not because the sale of Hillsborough was outside of the permitted rules, but simply because the paperwork associated with the sale was not submitted to the correct deadline.
“Derby County managed to get this right, Sheffield Wednesday did not, and it seems this act of gross incompetence is a contributing factor to our relegation.
“To add insult to injury, in pursuing its strategy to avoid a points deduction our club has ultimately lost ownership and control of its historic home. Rather than playing there for free, the club must now pay £2.5m in rent for each of the next 30 years to continue to play at Hillsborough.
“With significantly reduced income in League One this is a huge sum to factor in annually and will take precedence over player wages.
“We fear the club now faces a real crisis that has been building for four years whilst those in charge of the club have done little to avoid it. As Steve Chu, a member of our Advisory Panel, recently commented on Twitter, “Sheffield Wednesday has become a team without enough heart, and money without a soul”.
“In December 2020, almost 6000 supporters signed an open letter to the club, penned by the Trust, seeking urgent and substantial changes in the way it is being run. In response the club set up a fan engagement panel that has met twice.
“Although welcome, this limited response to a much broader problem was not acceptable then, it most certainly is not acceptable now that relegation is confirmed. Wholesale changes are needed at our football club. You can read our letter to the club here……
“Relegation to League One presents huge challenges on and off the field. The only way any positives can come out of it are if it acts as a catalyst change. The priorities for change are:
“- Mr Chansiri to take a clear step back from the running of the club; instead adopting a modern, forward thinking structure that is likely to include a new Chairman, a CEO and non-executive board members in place to lead and manage it.
“- Implementation of a long-term strategic plan for the club; that plan must be focused on sustainability and building the capacity of the club so that it can operate successfully in a challenging environment.
“- Affordable ticket, merchandise and hospitality pricing that attracts fans and businesses to the club rather than repelling them.
“- Effective engagement with supporters and the Sheffield community, so that we all feel “we have our Wednesday back.”
“The Trust is owner neutral. This is not about Mr Chansiri personally. We would be making the same arguments if the club were owned by another individual whose leadership and management had been equally disastrous.
“Business organisation at SWFC, whereby the positions of Owner, Chairman, and effective CEO, are held by one person, (Mr Chansiri), plus only having one board member, has now been demonstrably proven to have disastrous consequences.
“Leadership and management at our club needs to change. Fans now need to see and hear from Mr Chansiri on what he intends do to ensure that our club does not drift further into crisis.
“We need to see our club rebuilt and refreshed with a new approach that is fit for purpose. We need a credible strategy for leadership, a new plan to stabilise the club and then move it forward.
“Without this the demands from supporters for Mr Chansiri’s departure, and for new ownership, will grow louder and louder.
“SWFC Supporters Trust Board – May 2021”
“As your owner and chairman, I take full responsibility for everything that happens at our club. I am the leader and in good times or bad, the responsibility for Sheffield Wednesday lies with me. I am sorry to you all that we have been relegated.
“This was never what I anticipated when I came to Hillsborough in 2015, my vision was to take Wednesday into the Premier League. We came so close in 2016 and then again in 2017 and since then the times have not been so good at all.
“In football, in sport, there are highs and there are lows and right now, this is the lowest I have felt and I know you will be feeling the same. There are no guarantees in football, we have tried our best but our best was not good enough. We must now face the reality of what lies ahead and for next season at least, that is League One.
“We must pick ourselves up from the floor and move forward in a positive way. We have had plans for both scenarios and now our immediate future is clear, we can start to put those plans into place. I can pledge that as chairman, I will give everything I can and offer as much support as possible to everyone as we try and achieve promotion at the first attempt. There are issues we must address in the short and long term and some things will not happen overnight.
“Darren Moore will be the manager for sure and the moment I mention Darren’s name, I must wish him all the very best as he continues his recovery from illness. Health must come before anything else, as this past year has taught us more than ever.
“I would like to say thank you to the coaching staff who stepped up in Darren’s absence and also to everyone who has worked so hard during what has become one of if not the most challenging season in the history of Sheffield Wednesday.
“It has ended in the worst possible way but we have to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. We will rebuild on the pitch, and off it, the day when fans return cannot come soon enough. I say thank you to our fans, it has been soulless without having you following the team home and away and I know all clubs say the same but we have missed your support so much.
“Like all of you, I hope that life can return to normal soon and in football, that will mean having our fans back into Hillsborough and following the team around the country in the numbers that you do.
“You do not deserve this end to a season that in so many ways we will want to forget but in others we can look back on in time as a turning point for the revival of our club.”
Fans reacted as the Supporters Trust make an explosive statement before Chansiri speaks on Sheffield Wednesday’s relegation…
@ChrisEason84: This says it all and must be acted upon! How are the club supposed to pay Chansiri for playing at Hillsborough when he owns the ground and the club?
@dannygeez23: Nice statement but nothing will change.. bad times ahead..
@hubery_dean: The only way to effect change is for fans to boycott games.
@Craigfox27Fox: need some action……..man utd fans knew the score as did Chelsea!!! make chansiri aware then hit him in the fuckin pocket #chansiriout
@wannao7: How the Fuck does any owner get into a position where they take the guts out of a football club and institution. As a governing body, the #EFL are selling the souls of OUR clubs by turning a blind eye to dodgy ownership, then punishing the players and Fans by docking points
@SteelMarshian: Problem is mate that the EFL is made up by the clubs and all the clubs voted on the rules together. Having read those minutes from the EFL meeting, being kind to him he thought he could just make it up as he went along and face no consequences
@OwlSheffield: Many owls fans know DC will not listen to anyone , I think he’s blamed everyone else Bar himself since being owner
@83nickyd: You won’t achieve anything. The club is owned by an egomaniac that doesn’t understand the game or how it works. With all dire respect, your wasting your time.
@DaveWilson5209: £75m to play at your home for the next 30 years. What an absolute shambles!! Even though I dislike Wednesday, Chansiri needs to fuck off!! He has destroyed a proper club and took the piss out of their proper fans!!
Fans continued to react as the Supporters Trust make explosive statement after Chansiri speaks on Sheffield Wednesday’s relegation…
@Gavrisk: Wheres my and all other fans refund of £98.50 from last season and the £455 for this season
@AaronAPG23: At least he’s held his hands up for a change but I’ll believe it when I see it
@hackabusi: Step back from footballing duties and become a silent chairman. Employ a CEO with the experience, nous and intelligence to bring this club back because it’s been a circus for the last 3-4 seasons
@Rachael261078: This is a poor statement, what is the plan you talk of. I know I will be berated, but what about this seasons refunds, and the poor people still waiting for last season? Sure we are not expecting fans to pay £640 for league one football. Agree we have to move forward at least
@GeoffSWFC: Is now a good time to discuss refunds?
@Brantano97: All for Chansiri out, but I think it’s important to remember how many owners want nothing more than profits from the club’s, but with chansiri despite his awful decisions ,does indeed have the club’s best interests at heart
@HarryLister13: No worries Chansiri, sell up and we’ll forgive you
Lower ticket prices.
Pay the players on time.
Bring back our old badge.
Put swfc back on the stadium.
Bring in a proper director with football knowledge.
Get the finances in order and publish accounts on time.
If you can’t do this, then you shouldn’t our chairman #chansiriout
@jonnyhardy7: Great statement. Our revival starts now.
@matt_1867: The club became soulless the day you took over
@RocketOwl1986: Get rid of the advisor, appoint a DOF with experience in the game and let him run the club. Simple.
@wes_twits: Meaningless words. He could have spent in the January transfer window if he wanted to help and give us a better chance of survival but he didn’t.
@variank_twitch: The only way you can mend the damage you have done is to sell up and have someone who knows how to run a football club takeover.
@flash_aah: Sickness. It’s all I feel when Chansiris name is mentioned
@DavidOgden555: I doubt that Chansiri has had anything to do with that statement.
@Jinja_Owl: That’s PR Dept. statement if ever I saw one!
— ryan walker (@walker_ryanswfc) May 8, 2021