It was always going to go wrong at Sheffield Wednesday - Alan Biggs
It’s going wrong at Sheffield Wednesday because, in my opinion, it was always going to go wrong – without a radical change of approach or a change of owner. And it could go even worse, with or without the new custodianship that many fans understandably crave.
If an individual single-handedly funds a club, there is no guarantee in the volatile and often murky world of football ownership that a successor would be willing and able to do likewise.
But what you would hope to count on is greater expertise and, with that, increased value for money invested.
The chances are in the meantime that Dejphon Chansiri will not bow to being told what to do. Not unless his financing, only outstripped by his considerable pride, runs completely dry. However, I do think selling up would be in his own best interests as well as the club’s. You’d take a fraction of his money if it came with mountains of wisdom.
Is it too late for him to change? Is he beyond help?
So many have tried to help, quite genuinely. Certainly, it is exasperating that the solution has appeared to be so blindingly obvious.
The Thai businessman has always needed better able and qualified people to run the club for him, to take responsibility for decision-making at the sharp end rather than him apparently making the vast majority of those calls himself.
Not talking out of school here. I must be one of many people who’ve made this point directly to him – in my case as far back as late 2017. Why? Because we all wanted him – and by that, Sheffield Wednesday – to succeed.
Far from being wise after the event, we tried to head all this off! A properly empowered chief executive, plus a structure of experienced football knowledge in support of the manager, could have spared Chansiri and his family – for whom I genuinely feel – so much of this angst and heartache.
Instead, across much of his eight years at the helm, the club and its fans have been subjected to serially suspect judgment on all areas of the business. Seven head coaches, plus a couple of caretakers, and the club being worse placed than Chansiri found it, is testament to that. And who runs the team is incidental if you don’t have the structure right. Worse still, perhaps, is the damage to the spirit and soul of the club, to its reputation at large, ironically impacting on its resale value.
How can it be right or good, for example, that the best of a generation of famous Wednesday footballers have come to be estranged and alienated when they should be hugged tight as club assets?
Which is again where the art of delegation comes in. It doesn’t mean the owner surrendering ultimate power; the delegated still answer to him and he gets due credit for any successes.
For me, the wheels came off once the initial high funding had run its course.
It was after those two narrowly failed promotion attempts at the outset of Chansiri’s tenure that Wednesday needed real football nous and a joined-up plan to fit a budget.
Instead, a piecemeal approach to trading – and very little trading at all in one direction – led to a chaotic relegation-inducing decline on and off the field.
It finally appeared, superficially, during the reign of Darren Moore that those lessons might have been heeded – only for two years of progression to be tossed to the wind. It came across as a shrug of the shoulders; easy come, easy go.
That’s why the events of last summer – to which the owner has drawn more attention than anyone else – simply won’t go away.
It’s left many supporters simply wishing Chansiri would go away. Better than that, I just wish he would change.
Or, if that continues to prove unlikely, I just wish he would have changed.