Alan Biggs: For all the mistakes, just remember who's keeping Sheffield Wednesday afloat
Well, here’s a thing - football clubs only able to stay in operation thanks to owners breaking the rules.
There’s one at Sheffield Wednesday who, whatever the rights and wrongs of various issues, faces no bigger barrier than the nonsensical exclusion of supporters, the lifeblood of the game, from stadiums.
If he was more inclined to speak openly, Dejphon Chansiri could make a very good point about double standards right now.
This column is happy to highlight that for him at a time when financial fair play, the protocol that saw the Owls docked 12 points, is surely dead in the water.
It was about allegedly exceeding spending limits. Imagine if that clock was still ticking (can’t be, can it?)
Can you imagine how much Wednesday’s expenditure is outstripping revenue? And the same at every EFL club, many of which, as at Hillsborough, are being propped up by owners single-handed.
What revenue, by the way? Next to nothing thanks to Covid, the Government and no crowds. That Wednesday carry on with all staff in place is thanks entirely to Chansiri.
What an irony that is. Not that I’ve defended him over what I consider to be the operational mistakes that landed Wednesday - unnecessarily - in extreme difficulty.
Rules are rules whether you agree with them or not and, while it’s still in dispute that the club broke them, it’s arguable that it wouldn’t have been necessary for the owner to buy the stadium (an unhealthy position for any club in my opinion) if transfer dealings had been better balanced.
However, it’s the sort of commitment that saw Chansiri buy Hillsborough that continues to leave Wednesday in his debt at this most challenging of times.
Not only is he funding the existing squad, he’s also acquired new players earmarked by a manager who, despite the pandemic, was allowed to recruit a three-man backroom team.
That is some personal commitment.
There is, of course, no way without crowds that a Championship club could satisfy the EFL’s trading criteria, hence FFP (or Profit and Sustainability) has to be crushed.
There’s a need, I think, for something more binding in its place, whether it’s a wage cap (unlikely) or outside regulation to save clubs from themselves.
But let’s be fair. The Championship, and with it the EFL, would be in far deeper crisis without owners like Chansiri digging deep into their pockets.
It’s a point worth making at Wednesday’s appeal, originally scheduled this Autumn, against the 12 point penalty, even though it is doubtful it could have any bearing retrospectively.
Certainly, Chansiri will feel that the funding of clubs is very much between the owners and their wallets.
Whether you agree with that view or not , I think the Owls chairman is due as much credit for his running of the club this summer as he was legitimately criticised previously.
He has stuck by manager Garry Monk and the recruitment, for type and value, has shown signs of lessons learned.
It’s only fair to acknowledge all this at the same time as fans, via the Sheffield Wednesday Supporters Trust, are entitled to seek clarification over apparent borrowing against the stadium.