MILAN Mandaric regards the Owls’ promotion as a stepping stone towards the Premier League.
The Wednesday chairman is hoping to emulate Norwich and Southampton after they both spent only one season in the Championship.
He is making no firm promises about the time scale but insists that top-flight football “has to happen” at Hillsborough sooner or later and the club belongs among the country’s top 10.
Spotlighting the feat of the Canaries and Saints, he said: “Any successful and progressive person would have to say ‘if you can do it, why can’t I? They are great clubs. They have done good jobs. This club is not smaller than those. We also have a bursting desire to be there. So why not?
“This club was in the Premier League before. It deserves to be there. If it doesn’t go to the Premier League, whoever is here during the time that process is being done is not very successful.
“It might take it more than one year, two years or three years, but it’s got to be the direction of this club. It can’t go back now.
“You’ve got to build a club. It’s not possible. It has to happen, simple as that.”
He believes that firm foundations are now being built, with Dave Jones having taken the club up League One.
Mandaric regards the £20m that it has cost him to buy and run the club over the last 16 months as an investment rather than a loss and is looking to back Jones with funds, aiming both to consolidate next season and challenge for another promotion.
“You have to make sure your foundation is firm, so you can build on that - we’re getting there. You don’t want to slip back.” he said.
“I’m not going to tell you here we’re going to be promoted next season to the Premier League - that would be the wrong thing to do. But we do have a plan to get there. How quickly, we’ll find out, but while we do that we are building the foundations as strongly as we can: you can’t build a penthouse on a sandy surface.”
Mandaric again put no time limit on his own stay at the club and admitted that one day he may decide to leave and be proud of the job he had done.
But the 73-year-old added: “The more I stay with this club, the more I think it will be my last club. It is a special club.”
He also said the Owls’ future would be guided by a “committed and capable” Jones: “It is a perfect situation for the club club. We are very lucky to have a manager like him””
At Wednesday’s awards dinner last night Jose Semedo won both the Fans’ Player of the Year and the Players’ Player of the Year awards. Rob Jones won the Player in the Community trophy and Milan Mandaric won the Outstanding Contribution award.