“I am immensely pleased and proud to have agreed a deal to buy this wonderful club.”
Three years ago this week we got these words and then that was, more or less, the last we heard from the man.
That man was Hafiz Mammadov. Azerbaijani businessman, owner of French side RC Lens and the soon-to-be new man at the helm at Sheffield Wednesday.
Except he wouldn’t, because as it turned out, Mammadov didn’t have enough money to buy Wednesday from Milan Mandaric.
Indeed he didn’t have the money to keep going at his French club either. Or at least, if he did have the cash, he couldn’t prove it as he struggled to reclaim money owed from many since discredited high-profile Azerbaijani figures.
So after a frustrating four-month delay, and saddled by a sponsorship deal the club would get no money from and ‘Azerbaijan Land of Fire’ on their shirts, Mandaric called the whole thing off and started again his search for a new buyer.
Since then Mammadov has lost ownership of Lens, the French Ligue 2 side are now part owned by Atletico Madrid’s bosses, though recent reports from his country indicate that he was ready to fight back on that front.
Every cloud, though, has a silver lining and while this represented a difficult period of limbo for Wednesday, with Mandaric desperate to move on and, understandably reluctant to invest huge sums in the interim, there would soon arrive a hero.
That final point will sound hypocritical, as Thai businessman Dejphon Chansiri was treated with some amount of suspicion when he arrived.
Many, were worried about a new, unknown foreign owner coming in, but what has since transpired has proven that everyone deserves time to earn trust.
Chansiri has invested heavily, on and off the pitch and has shown that new faces coming to these shores from afar shouldn’t be judged on the basis of those at other clubs, some not too far away.
The Owls owner has been a revelation in that respect and fans could barely wish for a better man in charge.
They have those who apparently wouldn’t pay back Mammadov to thank for that.