Owls chairman Milan Mandaric has admitted his regret over the premature announcement of Hafiz Mammadov’s proposed takeover of Sheffield Wednesday.
Speaking exclusively to The Star, Mandaric blames the French media for leaking out the Azerbaijani businessman’s buy-out, claiming that “pushed” the Owls into making a statement before a deal had been concluded.
More than 10 weeks have passed since Mammadov agreed to purchase the Championship club but the takeover has yet to be ratified by the Football League. Indeed, the £40m takeover has been delayed because Mammadov is still dealing with his other business interests in his homeland.
He said: “I regret that it was leaked out in the first place until it was done.
“I would not have announced it but I was pushed by the media because it was leaked in France. I wanted to announce something when we had everything in place but I felt I had to say something.
“I always try and protect supporters from rumours and things that have not happened.”
Despite the lengthy hold-up, Mandaric is adamant Mammadov’s buyout could still happen.
“It’s not over until it’s over,” said Mandaric. “When we cross the line, I will tell people.
“I can’t say it will happen and I can’t say it won’t. People have to be patient because I still believe that Mr Mammadov is not prolonging this because he doesn’t want the club or is a bad person. It’s been prolonged because of some technical issues he is working on his side. I am being very patient to accommodate that.”
Mandaric hopes to give another update in the next “week or so” but has warned Mammadov there will come a point when he will pull the plug on the deal and speak to other investors. Mammadov, the founder of the Baghlan Group, which specialises in oil, gas, construction and transportation, also owns French club RC Lens and FC Baku.
Mandaric stressed: “I’m trying to do what’s best for the club. Our priority is for it (the takeover) to be done in the right way.
“I want a special owner. I don’t want my hard work and a lot of money to be in vain. I want somebody who can build on that.
“It is for that reason that I am waiting for Mr Mammadov and I’m being patient. The point when we have to look at other people will be when I feel Mr Mammadov can’t or doesn’t want to do it.
“There is a possibility Mr Mammadov will cross the line. We want to be sure it’s all done and dusted properly. Other people want to pull the plug but I don’t want to do that. There is a patience on my side.
“If it’s not him, it will be somebody else but it’s got to be done right. It will be someone who will bring an additional dimension and speed up the process.
“Meanwhile, I’m doing everything humanly possible with my experience to move the club forward.”