Derby County have been in the news over the past few weeks, firstly for being on the brink of breaching Profitability and Sustainability rules then miraculously making a profit of £14.6m. How?
Derby the club have sold their ground, Pride Park, to their owner’s company and the stadium will be leased back to them. The lump sum wiped out their debts and put them in profit.
This has got Wednesdayites talking. Is this a possibility for The Owls? Could we raise enough money to lift us out of trouble with P&S and further transfer embargoes? Could it provide Steve Bruce with investment to put together a promotion winning squad? Is it morally right even if it’s technically possible?
The Owls About Stat podcast ran a poll to gauge whether Wednesday fans think this could be a viable option for the club. In the poll over 600 supporters responded. At the time of writing, 68% of these fans said they think Sheffield Wednesday should look at this as an option.
The attraction of a quick solution to our financial worries is attractive. It would be a one-time only deal and would depend on the good will of Mr Chansiri to rent Hillsborough back to us at a favourable rate.
If hypothetically Mr Chansiri walks away from the club but one of his parent businesses owns Hillsborough would that leave us in a vulnerable position?
I look at Sheffield United and the grey areas around which owner owns what and their subsequent court cases. We see Coventry City’s historical catastrophic ground sale of the Ricoh Arena, and wonder is short-term gain worth it in the long run.
Hillsborough has been brought into the conversation a lot in recent years when the subject of money has been raised. We talk about the naming rights of the ground so it would no longer be Hillsborough but potentially the Chansiri Stadium.
We talk about selling the stadium and moving to a purpose built one, raising revenue by turning Hillsborough into housing, just as Arsenal did with Highbury.
There’s even some talk of knocking down at least the West Stand because of the painful memories it preserves.
Our stadium is a massive part of our history, good and bad. We need to make damn sure it’s the right thing to do before we do anything with it.