Alan Biggs: If Dejphon Chansiri won't sell Sheffield Wednesday then he needs to change who he trusts
Huge game, enormous stakes. At least £20m on the line for Sheffield Wednesday this weekend, besides pride and prestige.
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire calculates that relegation would immediately cost around £10m in lost broadcast and commercial revenue - and probably more in lost valuation if the club were to be sold.
It’s also what Wednesday will save if they win the survival cliffhanger at Derby and Rotherham fail to win at Cardiff.
Then there’s what Maguire calls the “red flag” of yet another late wage payment episode - “in terms of the club’s sustainability” under Dejphon Chansiri, who would be even harder pressed by a drop in gate revenue in League One.
And how much is a club actually worth? In the case of Wednesday, it COULD be worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Potentially.
But it might take hundreds more millions to realise that sort of value. Or still not, as the current owner of the Owls could attest
Bottom line, it’s what somebody is prepared to pay and what the owner is prepared to take. Plus a third critical factor in this case, should Chansiri decide to trade - who is buying?
After the bitter public fall-out between the chairman and an erstwhile advisor, I’m reasoning, for instance, that Erik Alonso (now ironically leading a buy-out of Derby) couldn’t have bought the club - at any price.
He’s said to have offered £30m. I’m not sure it would have made any difference if it was £300m.
Whatever Chansiri’s faults, lack of principle isn’t one of them. He has demonstrated many times that he values pride above money; maybe because he can afford to.
If that can cut his nose to spite his face, it’s rare in a sport hardly known for a high moral code.
But the question remains as to whether any would-be buyer would go much above the valuation placed on the club by Alonso’s party even in the Championship.
It’s not far short of the £37.5m Chansiri himself paid for it in 2015. He would obviously wish account to be made of the multiples of this he has invested in fees and wages.
However, a buyer would look at the club as it stands now - floundering and without major on-field assets - plus the size of investment required to shoot for the Premier League.
Ok, Chansiri has since bought the stadium for £60m, though essentially he already possessed it as owner of the club and the “purchase” was seen as more of a (legal) loophole on the FFP issue.
So it’s hard to foresee Wednesday changing hands any time soon. And, in fairness to Chansiri, not many owners would keep propping up the club to the extent that he continues to do and in the most difficult circumstances.
But for the good of the club, Chansiri either has to change his methods, which have failed, or change his approach to possibly selling.
The danger is struggling to foresee either. While many fans have agitated for a new regime, you can’t just magic up a wealthy benefactor who will have the best interests of the club at heart.
Again, whatever you might level at Chansiri, no-one can say he hasn’t fully committed or that he doesn’t care.
Also again, the most viable way ahead would be a change of strategy, direction and mode of leadership.
In my view, he’s trusting the wrong people - and one of those is himself.