Take a very big bow, Milan Mandaric. Job exceptionally well done. Or is it?
Not that Mandaric doesn’t deserve a Sundowner or two after refloating Sheffield Wednesday and putting a new captain on the bridge. It’s just that I question whether his job is, or should be, finished.
For me, some of the outgoing owner’s most vital work is still ahead.
This column was surprised and a little disappointed that Mandaric is not staying on as chairman into the early months of a new regime.
His only ongoing involvement is as “adviser” to buy-out boss Dejphong Chansiri, who fronts for a family with a frozen food empire.
Well, I’d say that was pretty vital all the same.
And my only advice to Mr. Chansiri – not that he necessarily needs it – is to consult, listen hard and take heed.
There is not much that a former chairman of clubs such as Portsmouth and Leicester City (who have boomed after he also left them in Thai hands) doesn’t know about English football.
The Serbian-American is, of course, a foreigner himself, but is sufficiently Anglicised to have altered the pronunciation of the end of his surname from a “ch” to a “ck.”
And he has been disgusted by those other overseas owners who come in and do daft things like change a team’s colours or try to alter their name.
Quite apart from all the managerial mayhem that often comes as part of a foreign owner’s baggage.
Let’s be honest here. There was a time when Mandaric went too far on the hiring and firing front.
In one conversation he virtually admitted as much, saying he had “learnt to count to ten.”
But he has tempered his natural impatience to such an extent that those parties on the former Hillsborough board who were initially reluctant to accept him even as Wednesday were running aground, would have to accept he has been a responsible and resourceful custodian.
So Milan can keep Mr. Chansiri on the straight and narrow, without diluting the hunger and ambition that is bound to involve some degree of change.
Much of it has been desperately needed. . . a better quality of player and improved facilities, including the Hillsborough pitch.
Four deadline day signings was proof positive that this takeover is the real deal.
As to rearranging the furniture, well, Stuart Gray has been in football too long not to know – for all his welcoming noises – that changes of control often bring changes of manager. All he can do is choose good players and hope to harness them for an immediate impact.
You sense that Gray needs a strong, top-six tilting finish to the season to secure his position for the summer when the biggest opportunity arises.
The hope is that Mandaric will advise against any rash or impulsive judgments.
Above all, he understands football supporters and his bond with Owls fans is something from which Mr. Chansiri can learn as well as utilise.
The vast majority of Wednesdayites trust Milan’s judgment that he is leaving the club in good, caring hands. And that represents a flying start for any new owner.