Sheffield Wednesday: Fans divided over new Owls initiative

Dejphon Chansiri
Dejphon Chansiri
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Wednesdayites are divided over the Championship club’s brand new initiative to mark their 150th anniversary.

Just hours after their Carabao Cup first round win over Chesterfield, the Owls launched the ‘Club 1867’ project.

The scheme gives supporters the chance to buy a three-year season ticket, which will kick into effect as soon as Wednesday seal promotion to the Premier League, and have a bronze plaque with a personalised message fitted to their seat.

Chairman Dejphon Chansiri is calling on fans to get behind the initiative as Wednesday look to remain within the Financial Fair Play (FFP) guidelines. Championship clubs are permitted to make total losses of no more than £39 million over a rolling three-year period.

Chansiri said: “We need to remain competitive at the right end of the table whilst staying within the confines of FFP and trying to compete with at least eight clubs in our division who are currently benefiting from parachute payments. So for this season, Club 1867 gives supporters the chance to be part of a unique initiative.

“I understand that it will not be easy for everyone to join this project and I would never seek the backing of a single supporter who cannot afford to do so.

Owls fans at Deepdale for the opening game of the 2017-18 season

Owls fans at Deepdale for the opening game of the 2017-18 season

“But for those that can, all I ask is to show as much support as you can to our lovely club because I cannot take us where we all want to be on my own.”

To become Club 1867 members, supporters will have to fork out £1,500 to sit on the Kop or West Stand. Membership for the North Stand is priced at £1,800 while the South Stand is £2,100.

Should fans wish to involve family and friends, they have the option of taking their three season tickets in the same term.

Owls fans have been reacting to Club 1867 on social media.

Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri

Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri

@mattbarton79 posted on Twitter: “A good idea in principal but £7500 for a family of five is not an easy amount to find.”

@russlw1974 said: “Great idea, unfortunately I don’t have £5400 at the minute, I understand why he’s doing it but it feels like gambling on future income.”

@PistolPete1867 said: “It’s a good idea but I can’t help but feel it’s a lot of money for your average fan. Good to see the club thinking outside the box though.”

@Wendyowl012 said: “Think we need more details and clarification of ‘if’ we go to PL, but fair do’s the Chairman is looking at all avenues.”

Owls fans at Deepdale

Owls fans at Deepdale

@Barx_SB said: “Great idea. Just won’t happen. Too much.”

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@13Mikeyb said: “Good idea but I haven’t got that sort of money all at once. Also if we do go up I would hope the tickets would be cheaper?”

@djgaryr83 said: “It’s a lot of money to be stumping up for me and the lad... So it’s a no from me.”

@benmwalton said: “Understand the concept and reasons why. The actual product and perceived value for money/paying for something not guaranteed, not so much.”

@ramonegangster said: “It’s a complete non starter for me and I should imagine it will be the same for 99% of fans. Not priced for people in Yorkshire.”

Owls fans at Preston

Owls fans at Preston

@woody_rw said: “Surely this is aimed at the fans that are willing to part with higher amounts of cash. Think we should invest time in store for masses.”

@markyoungerswfc argued: “Good idea but doesn’t appeal to the normal working class people I know.”

@DoctorBadvibes said: “It screams of pay now and you may get something back later. A lot of money to stump up on an assumption we will get promoted soon.”

@jonogarnett wrote: “It’s a lot of cash to gamble on #swfc reaching the PL. But £600 a year for a 3 year PL season ticket is fair. Worth the gamble...? Not sure.”

@jamesturner2109 said: “Egotistical gimmick for wealthy fans. A shiny brass plaque for an elite. In essence,will become attractive if top 2 towards end of season.”

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Others fans have applauded the scheme.

@allymitchell10 said: “Brilliant idea. I for one will be purchasing 2. Think you’ll be looking at £1000+ a season for a south stand ticket once we get there.”

@Majortarantin said: “If the cost can be spread, I’ll be buying one. I’d be getting a season ticket anyway, so for me it makes sense.”

@ChesterfieldOwl said: “It’s a great idea, it’s not just Chansiri’s club, it’s ours and for those that can afford it, it’s an opportunity to help the club.”

@mark_milligan73 said: “Until the ridiculous parachute payment system is scrapped, clubs will be forced to come up with these initiatives to compete FFP-wise.”

@fife_owl said: “I think it’s a smart idea and no doubt one of many initiatives. It is clearly directed at the wealthier fans - but why not.”

On Facebook, Andrew Coy wrote: “Before everyone goes nuts. It’s not forcing anyone to pay anything. It’s just the club looking at initiatives to bring in more money. It’s an offer for those who can afford it to help support the club today.”

Stephen Macdonald added: “I think its a great idea! Its good business, get money into the club and reward fans by being part of Hillsborough forever! He’s clearly said he doesn’t expect everyone to buy it only if you can afford it and want to! I would if I had the money but I don’t..... I’m not moaning....

“Everytime Chansiri and the club try something new everybody moans about it! Why can’t we get behind our club and show support.”

Chansiri has defended their decision to roll out Club 1867.

The Thai businessman said: “The last two seasons have seen us go to the brink of the Premier League, which has required a significant investment and this is my duty as owner and chairman.

“I have no problem with that and this season, I will continue do everything possible in terms of the backing I can personally give to the team.

“But as everyone knows, I cannot invest what I would like, so consequently I cannot make our dreams come true alone.

“All Championship clubs working beneath the umbrella of the EFL must do so with the boundaries of FFP in mind, but this can be difficult, and for our club, this will have an impact for each season that we stay in the division.

“As always, I thank every supporter for what they have done and continue to do for Sheffield Wednesday and I sincerely hope we will all enjoy the next exciting part of our journey.”

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