"I know what the fans demand": Former Sheffield Wednesday striker has applied for manager's job
Former Sheffield Wednesday forward Shefki Kuqi has thrown himself forward as a left-field candidate for the club’s vacant manager’s position.
The 42-year-old, who has enjoyed success as the manager of three clubs in Finland, told The Star he appreciates he is not an obvious choice, but that he believes he has what it takes to “make the club fulfil its potential.”
The 60-cap Finland international was a popular figure at Hillsborough as he made over 65 appearances for Wednesday as the club faltered in the seasons following relegation from the Premier League.
“It’s a huge club,” he said, “you get that sense very early when you play for them. You feel the passion the city has for football.
“I know the fans, I know the demands the fans have and the size of the club. As a player, I always felt that I was in the right club at the wrong time.
“Now, the club has great potential. If you get Wednesday back on track it can be as big as any club.
“I was fortunate enough to play for the club and also to play in the Premier League, I can see the difference and know what it takes to make that step up.”
Since leaving his last job in Finland nearly two years ago, Kuqi has been travelling Europe watching football, developing contacts and studying for his coaching qualifications.
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He said his ambition is to get a job in England and that he has been close to doing so at two of his other former clubs in recent seasons.
“For me, England feels like home,” he said. “I played there for 13 years and spent my career there. I know the leagues well.
“I made some great contacts and the closest you can come to playing is management. I prepared myself and had so many different managers and saw so many different ways and ideas.
“I’ve done all my qualifications, I’ve got my A-License and Pro License and I’ve started my career in Finland. Now I’m looking to move onto the next level.”
Kuqi watched several of Wednesday’s matches last season and earlier this month travelled to the pre-season friendly with Northampton Town, where he managed to speak with owner Dejphon Chansiri about the role.
He is one of over 100 people to have applied, but it is understood that the club are looking for a manager with experience of management in the English leagues.
Caretaker manager Lee Bullen is preparing to lead them into Saturday’s opening day clash at Reading.