Lots of questions, some worrying answers on a night of tension and concern: the Sheffield Wednesday fans forum

Dejphon Chansiri
Dejphon Chansiri
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Supporters were asked not to ask questions until the man with the microphone got to them, but the first one was shouted from the floor before Dejphon Chansiri had even finished his opening address.

The Sheffield Wednesday chairman was halfway through a monologue lasting 50 minutes at yesterday evening's Hillsborough fans' forum when someone complained loudly about high prices.

Fans gather for the forum

Fans gather for the forum

Chansiri didn't appreciate being stopped in his tracks and other followers packed into the 1867 Lounge didn't like interruption either. They rounded on the culprit, collectively advising him to wait his turn.

It wasn't the only show of anger of the evening. It wasn't the last time high pricing cropped up either.

Financial Fair Play, a transfer embargo since April and what both mean for the Owls' future dominated the agenda. Initially, the owner requested that his words on this subject stayed inside the building, but that was always an impossible ask with so many mobile phones and Twitter accounts in the room.

At the close of the night, he conceded that it could all go public. On social media, it already had.

FFP is casting a dark cloud over S6 and the club are in trouble unless action is taken or they win promotion to the Premier League this season.

Twitter and its trolls are another darkness in the Thai businessman's life. "Nowadays you make my family feel scared," he said. "My family worry about me. You make my family feel not safe. I still believe in our fans, but sometimes you say very bad insults.

"I am a Wednesday fan. If you want me to leave, I can leave. But I'll still be a Wednesday fan. This is like my second home. It's in my blood."

Wearing a dark polo shirt, he cut an emotional, heartfelt figure behind his microphone up on stage, flanked by chief executive Katrien Meire and operations manager Richard Stanford.

His attire was the only casual thing. He was all about passion, vehemently-expressed passion, and had apologised in advance if there were times when, speaking in his second language, he didn't quite get it right.

He was happy to inform, equally happy to have a row, calling for fans to back him, appealing for their trust in him knowing what's best. "This is the way it has to be" was a recurring theme from the top man on the top table.

Debates flared along with tempers throughout the evening. Yet the night had the air of a family coming together, as families do, at a deeply worrying time. There were squabbles and spats aplenty, but people were bonded by their concern for their club. At the end of the day, WAWAW.

Those in the room were the right kind of followers. One earned widespread applause as he prefaced his question by telling the club's owner that the internet-abusers wouldn't be accepted in real Owls circles.

High pricing was never far away. There was uproar over the £90 membership scheme which supporters say doesn't offer enough benefits. Applause rang out when Chansiri appeared to agree to a £50 compromise offering £5 off tickets for every home game, only for the chairman to immediately recant and offer a two-match discount only

Amid all the concern, there were shafts of humour, Chansiri drawing laughs when he revealed how he'd impressed on manager Jos Luhukay the need for an opening-day win at Wigan last Saturday (Wednesday lost 3-2) so forum fans would go easier on him.

It was a long, long night. A 7pm start with around 300 supporters brought an 11.23pm end and a half-empty venue by kicking-out time.

Most people there wanted to learn about the major issues and nothing was kept hidden. Some had more personal agendas. One man on a diet asked about shirt sizes. He did it with a touch of fun and style, but on this, and trivial points raised by others, you could sense XXL frustration around the room.

Meire spoke well on a couple of occasions, while director of communications Trevor Braithwait's eloquence when explaining the BBC stand-off placated some of the crowd. Impressive bit-parts in the Chansiri show.

It was a night of a lot of questions that didn't always have comforting answers.

What isn't in doubt is how much Chansiri cares. Just like every man and woman filling the 1867 Lounge close to capacity last night.

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