Sheffield Wednesday: Owls fans seek swift resolution over takeover

Owls manager Stuart Gray
Owls manager Stuart Gray
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Wednesdayite director Peter Shaw has called for a quick resolution to Azerbaijani businessman Hafiz Mammadov’s takeover bid of Sheffield Wednesday.

It emerged on Tuesday that Mammadov, the founder and chairman of the Baghlan Group which specialises in oil, gas, construction and transportation, is considering buying the Championship outfit.

According to reports in well regarded French newspaper L’Equipe earlier this week, an agreement over the deal, believed to be worth in the region of 50million euros, was concluded in Monaco last weekend.

The Star understands Mammadov, who also owns Azerbaijan side FC Baku and French Ligue One club RC Lens, and his representatives have been in talks with Owls chairman Milan Mandaric for several months.

Although Wednesday chief Mandaric is keeping tight-lipped over Mammadov’s interest, it is understood discussions between the two parties are at an advanced stage.

Shaw, who saw his first Owls match in 1960, would love to avoid a protracted saga.

“Uncertainty is never good for any business, never mind a football club,” said season ticket holder Shaw. “We are at a crucial point in the summer where players contracts are expiring at the end of the month and Stuart [Gray] is looking to put his squad in place. Stuart will want to know the direction they are heading in so he can recruit the players he wants.

“We, as fans, have got to believe and have faith that the parties will conclude matters as soon as possible.

“It’s in everybody’s interests for this [takeover] to be resolved quickly. It’s important for the manager, players and supporters to know exactly where they stand. I think that’s very important and I’m sure Milan [Mandaric] and Hafiz Mammadov know this too.”

Shaw is convinced Mammadov’s interest is genuine and believes, from a personal point of view, that it represents a “great opportunity” for the Owls.

Mammadov purchased Lens in 2013 and, with his financial input, they recently achieved promotion back to the French top flight.

Wednesday supporters have tweeted @TheStarSport with their views on the takeover talks.

Rob Andrews tweeted: “If it goes through, hopefully he can do for #SWFC what he did for RC Lens.”

Gregg Denial and Lewis Wilson, responded in a simlar fashion, both also hoping for the same outcome as happened at RC Lens last season under the ownership of Mammadov.

Given how long talk of a takeover has been lingering, Martin Sapcote is more sceptical about Mammadov’s approach, arguing: “We’ve heard it all before, believe it when I see it!”

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