Sheffield Wednesday: Milan policy stays on track

Milan Mandaric will leave the Owls in safe hands
Milan Mandaric will leave the Owls in safe hands
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In a roundabout sort of way, the shenanigans at Leeds have resulted in confirmation of a potentially bright future for the Owls, writes Paul Thompson.

Bear with me for a minute and I’ll explain.

Milan Mandaric has always said that he will sell Wednesday not only if the price is right but also if the new owner is right for the club.

The non-arrival of a Massimo Cellino takeover at Hillsborough could be interpreted as a sign that the controversial Italian was not right for the Owls.

The Leeds buyer’s prior interest in Wednesday led to him sitting next to Mandaric at the FA Cup replay against Macclesfield.

Just what was said between the two there or elsewhere is confidential, of course, and there is no way that the Owls chairman would give a public analysis of someone’s character or background or say whether he was deemed suitable for Hillsborough.

Mandaric told me there continues to be nothing serious or tangible on the table and he leaves it at that, leaving others to draw their conclusions.

But you can bet that if and when he does leave, he will place the Owls in safe hands, quickly and cleanly, and it will not be as messy as the Leeds affair or pre-Mandaric episodes at Hillsborough.

He took great pains to try to make sure his successors at Portsmouth and Leicester were appropriate.

If Cellino was not right for Wednesday, that verdict is backed up by what happened at Leeds: a prospective new owner steams in and “sacks” the manager before he is even in control, sparking outrage among fans and the reinstatement of Brian McDermott by the proper owners.

If Cellino does gain control at Elland Road, what more fun and games may be in store? Wednesday fans will take mischievous delight over anything that goes wrong there - the traditional rivalry between the clubs meant that the Owls’ 6-0 win was extra special.

Plenty has been going right for Wednesday: the mood inside the club is buoyant, and the award nominations for Stuart Gray and Chris Kirkland represent recognition of the club’s revival.

Injury problems and the fixture pile-up caused partly by the FA Cup run could rock the boat. Mandaric has acknowledged the need to bring in more players on loan to keep the squad up to strength.