Ask the chairman: Why the Owls launched the Club 1867 scheme
Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri has reiterated his firm stance on why the Championship outfit felt they had to introduce the unpopular Club 1867 initiative.
The scheme, unveiled in August, gives supporters the chance to buy a three-year season ticket, which will kick into effect as soon as Wednesday secure promotion to the Premier League.
As part of the package, 1867 members receive a bronze plaque with a personalised message up to 24 characters fitted into the seat.
However, fans have stump up £1,500 to sit on the Kop or West Stand to become Club 1867 members. And membership for the North Stand/Grandstand is priced at £1,800 while the South Stand is £2,100.
At the Steering Group meeting last month, Wednesday confirmed “not many” fans had taken up the initiative.
In the latest part of his ‘Ask the Chairman’ series, Chansiri said: “The three-year Season Ticket can be redeemed only when we reach the Premier League.
“There is no time limit on this benefit of Club 1867 – and it applies whether we are promoted this season, next season or in five seasons’ time.
“The nature of the scheme is solely to help the club combat any issues with Profitability and Sustainability that apply in the Championship.
“Obviously, the financial landscape would change dramatically should we achieve promotion to the Premier League.”
Here are some other fans questions Chansiri has answered in his 11th part of his feature:
It was said at a Steering Group meeting that the club is open to working with local suppliers who are Wednesday fans. Could you provide more detail on this please?
“As we have discussed on many occasions in the past, the club is keen to work with local businesses and more specifically businesses in the Sheffield Wednesday family. We want to support the local market.
“We prefer to work with fans’ businesses as we always look to support fans first over outside suppliers and we have been loyal to those companies, enjoying long term relationships with Wednesday fans in the business community.
“We have worked across a range of associates, whether they supply food and drink for our catering departments, contractors for building works around the ground or more general services and products.
“There is always interest from suppliers to work with Sheffield Wednesday and we are happy to speak with anyone who can provide a mutually beneficial service. But, of course, any arrangement has to be two-way and we can only continue to support local businesses if they are willing to support us, and by that I mean offering competitive prices, prices that help our club.
“Sometimes we have had to change several long term supply partnerships over the past couple of years. This is because some businesses have attempted to exploit the club rather than support the club by looking to make large profits - and in some instances up to three times more than comparative quotes.
“This has been more apparent when we have sought to undertake contra arrangements with certain partners. If there is a genuine desire to work with the club, on contra or otherwise, it is our preference to do so with supporters of Sheffield Wednesday in a mutually beneficial way.”
What plans does the chairman have to improve the commercial and retail arm of the club?
“As within any football club or industry for that matter, improvements go hand in hand with resource, expertise, experience and the implementation of strategies that support commercial success.
“We have an entirely new management team of commercial and retail personnel and I am confident that both these key areas of the business will see significant growth in the coming months and years.
“This supports my aim to make every department of Sheffield Wednesday Premier League ready and that applies to the team off the pitch as much as the team on it.
“With the structure and staff we now have in place, I expect change for the better and improvement across the board. Managers will take full responsibility for their own departments and the pressure will be on for every member of staff to deliver. This is what the coach expects on the pitch and I share the same philosophy off it.”
Other football clubs around the country have offered free travel to fans for long distance away games, especially for midweek games, such as our game at Ipswich which is also on Sky. Have you ever considered subsidising coach travel for fans who attend these games midweek who often sacrifice hours at work to support the club?
“This is something that we have looked at in depth but we must always bear in mind the costs involved. It is true to say that some clubs do sometimes offer subsidised travel but our research suggests that this is something seen mainly in the Premier League, where clubs benefit from the broadcast money and parachute payments if relegated. This is something we could revisit when we achieve promotion.”