Sheffield Wednesday: Mandaric pays tribute to Owls fans

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Chairman Milan Mandaric has thanked Sheffield Wednesday’s fans for helping keep his spirits up throughout the tough periods of his Hillsborough tenure.

After selling the Owls to wealthy Azerbaijan-born businessman Hafiz Mammadov earlier this week, an emotional Mandaric revealed that he has found the last two years, particularly, draining.

The 75-year-old, who bought Wednesday for £1 back in December 2010, said: “These four years have been very difficult. I took the club in a lot worse shape than I thought. I ran into problems. The engine needed fuel and that was given by supporters, who kept on encouraging me.

“I had to make some tough, difficult decisions. Fortunately, most of the decisions worked out to the benefit of the club. Some of them didn’t.

“In the last two years, the Championship has taken a lot of energy out of me but my enthusiasm was still there and we were making progress.”

Mandaric, who will stay on as chairman, says his wife has not been well this year. He now plans on spending more time with his family and focusing on his other businesses.

He said: “My wife has not been well in the last year or so so I need to spend some time there and my other businesses have been neglected because of the love of the game. All those things will be sorted and I will be a very happy man.”

Mandaric has pledged to do everything in his power to assist Mammadov. He added: “He is a football man and exactly what this great football club needs to move forward.”