Sheffield Wednesday: Dejphon Chansiri outlines his commitment to Owls and Premier League ambitions
They say those who want to reach the highest level of their profession have to be hard working, determined and dedicated to succeed.
They also have to be willing to make big sacrifices along the way.
This calendar year, Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri has spent more time in England than in his own country. There isn’t a day that goes by when the father-of-three doesn’t miss his family in Bangkok.
But speaking at Monday night’s Steering Group meeting at Hillsborough, the Thai businessman reiterated his desire to lead Wednesday back to the big time.
“I want to do my best to improve this club,” he said. “It is my duty to do that.
“I can’t fail.
“If I stay here for so long, I miss my family...so what is the point if we don’t succeed? That is why I am determined to make us succeed.”
More than 40 Wednesdayites, representing various fan groups, turned up to Hillsborough to quiz Chansiri, Chief Operating Officer Joe Palmer, Ticket Office Manager Alastair Wilson and Director of Communications Trevor Braithwait on a variety of subjects ranging from catering changes to the club’s 150th anniversary plans. The meeting lasted nearly three hours.
I can’t think of another football owner in the country who gives up that amount of time - three to four times a year - to sit down and openly engage with supporters. It gives the fans a great platform to ask questions and share their opinions on areas where the club can still do better on and off the pitch.
It hit Chansiri hard missing out on promotion last season but he has vowed to do everything in his power to end their 16-year top-flight exile.
However, he freely admits the club cannot compete with the financial might of the likes of Newcastle United and Aston Villa. Newcastle splashed over £50 million on overhauling their squad and Villa have also spent big.
“We tried to bring in some players this summer but we had some big teams who came down,” he said. “It is quite difficult to compete with them.”
It still didn’t stop Chansiri from investing heavily in the first-team and allowing boss Carlos Carvalhal to bring in nine new recruits, including Steven Fletcher, David Jones and Almen Abdi. Chansiri said it was easier for Wednesday to attract players following their success last time around.
“We have more power,” he said. “Players are more happy to come here this season.”
Keeping Wednesday on a sound financial footing is one of Chansiri’s top priorities.
He admitted there was one transfer target over the summer who the Owls gave up on due to the player’s £65,000 a week wage demands.
“We can’t go to that level,” he said.
Chansiri was quick to stress that he has multiple global advisers who aid their recruitment drive, although Carvalhal also has a big say in who they buy and sell.
“We have a transfer committee,” he said. “We are still using the same recruitment team as we have done since the beginning.
“Last summer, we signed a lot of players.”
It is a costly business strengthening the first-team and Chansiri confirmed he has sponsored the North Stand of Hillsborough to raise additional funds to help the club continue to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
Chansiri spoke passionately and at length on the pricing of hospitality, insisting the corporate boxes are good value for money. Wednesday have sold half of their 28 corporate boxes.
“No one wants to pay more and I understand that but this club needs help,” he said. “We can’t do it by ourselves.
“The price is higher for the boxes but I think it is cheap because in the past we didn’t spent and bring in good players.
“We are trying to do the best for the fans. Every fan who comes to support us loves the club and want the club to get back into the Premier League but we need some help.”