Former Sheffield Wednesday manager Brian Laws has paid tribute to outgoing Owls chairman Milan Mandaric, praising him for stabalising the Championship club.
Mandaric, who has been openly looking for someone to buy him out for some time, agreed to sell the Owls for £30m to Thailand businessman Dejphon Chansiri on Thursday.
The takeover brings an end to Mandaric’s four-year stint as owner of the club, and although the 76-year-old is set to step down as chairman and as a director, he will remain at Hillsborough in an advisory role.
Under Mandaric’s astute leadership, the Owls gained promotion from the third-tier of English football in 2012, pipping Sheffield United to the second automatic promotion spot, and have finished 18th and 16th respectively in their last two seasons in the Championship.
Laws, now a radio pundit, told The Star: “Milan [Mandaric] has made a massive contribution. I know the structure of the club and the finances. He’s come in and stablised everything.
“I think the supporters should recognise that without Milan who knows where the club could have been. They were going in the wrong direction when he came in and were in danger of going through the trap door.
“Milan has given them a solid foundation and supported his managers when he could. From the position when he took over to what it is now, the club is a lot stronger. They are primed for somebody to come and in and invest in the team and we hope that’s going to be the case.”
Chansiri’s buy-out is subject to Football League ratification but Mandaric expects the deal to be approved within the next month.
With Chansiri’s financial input, Laws hopes the Owls can push on and get back into the Premier League.
“It (the takeover) has been on-going for quite a while and I know a lot of people were getting fed up of hearing the story but not anything really happening,” said Laws. “This can only be a positive for the club.
“Wednesday are a terrific club with magnificent supporters who deserve an opportunity to at least have a bite at the cherry and get back into the Premier League.
“I’m sure the strategy will change under the new owner. It will be a long-term strategy. He’s got to get his feet on the table and understand the mechanics of the football club.
“I think Stuart [Gray] will now have a stronger hand in the transfer market. I know Stuart has been frustrated sometimes because he’s not had the funds to go out and get players in or pay enough for wages.
“When there is somebody who comes in who I believe is prepared to put money in, it opens another avenue for you to go shopping in and gives you a better opportunity to bring quality into the football club.
“What Stuart needs, as everybody knows, is a goal-scorer. We saw the other night against Birmingham that they are creating chances but not putting them away. That’s the difference between where they are now (ninth in the table) and where they could possibly be.
“Stuart doesn’t need a lot but what he’s desperate for is someone who is going to put the ball in the back of the net.
“If it means spending quite a bit on a striker, it might just give them that push in the second half of the season.”