Sheffield Wednesday: Sammy Yu Owls ‘takeover’ latest

The new Birmingham City board arrived for their first working day proper, with left to right,  Sammy Yu, Vice Chairman Football;
The new Birmingham City board arrived for their first working day proper, with left to right, Sammy Yu, Vice Chairman Football;
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OWLS owner Milan Mandaric last night confirmed that Sheffield Wednesday are in takeover talks with a Chinese consortium led by Sammy Yu.

Former Birmingham City vice-Chairman Yu is one of a number of potential suitors the Owls supremo is talking to as he looks to find a suitable buyer for the club he took over in 2010.

“Sammy Yu is a good football man and a friend,” said Mandaric.

“He shows interest, of course. We are not anywhere near to any deal.”

Mandaric declined to say how many other parties are interested in buying the Owls thought to be worth between £15m and £20m.

“It (the interest in the Owls) is good news for the club,” said Mandaric who bought Wednesday for £1 having spent more than £7m clearing its debts.

“This is a club that has been cleaned properly and professionally and is going forward.

“We are just exploring the situation. We are not putting the club on the market. We don’t send out any representative to look for a buyer.

“At the same time, I have to listen to people. We also look for people to sponsor the club, and some of those express interest in the club.”

Yu, whose full Chinese name is Yu Huaiying, is a 56-year-old former player and coach of the Hong Kong football team with more than 40 years experience in the game. He has commentated on football in his country for 20 years, covered three World Cup finals and hosted a football programme called Kick Off Hot Talk.

Yu has organised tours for English teams to the former colony and worked in merchandising for Manchester United in the Far East.

But Mandaric insists that discussions with Yu are at an early stage and that he is continuing to speak to other parties.

“To be honest, nothing has changed,” said Mandaric.

“What I’m doing is what I promised our supporters - exploring all possible ways of doing what is best for the club,

“There are people approaching us with some interest. There is nothing tangible. There is no deal.

“It would be totally unprofessional for me to report to our supporters unless I can properly believe that this is the individual or the group who can take the club forward.”

Asked whether he thought a takeover could happen before the start of the season, Mandaric said.

“I don’t think so...”

Asked whether it could happen during next season: “I don’t know. It’s hard to say. If I see something more than I’ve seen so far, it’s possible before the season - but I haven’t seen that.”

Mandaric went on to say that it is “not a priority” for him to recoup his investment in the club.

“It is a priority that if there is a buyer, it is one that can take the club forward.”

Mandaric’s rescue act saved Wednesday from administration in 2010 and he said he would do his utmost to take the club forward but could step down if someone suitable wanted to take over and it was in the best interests of the club.

Wednesday is a more attractive proposition to possible buyers now, as a Championship outfit with one owner and financial stability, than when they had a more complex ownership structure and huge debts. Sammy Yu was part of Carson Yeung’s takeover of Birmingham City in 2009.

Yeung made Yu vice-chairman football at St Andrew’s though his position was downgraded to football consultant and after Blues’ pre-season tour of China and Hong Kong in 2010.

Less than a year after Yeung’s full buy-out in 2009, Yu resigned and severed all ties with the club.

Yu has extensive football contacts in this country and built up a reputation for arranging tours to Hong Kong for English clubs, including Everton and Manchester United.

He was involved indirectly when the England national side played there before Euro 96.

POTENTIAL Owls owner Sammy Yu turned his attentions to Wednesday after failing to buy Birmingham City.

Yu drew a line under negotiations with embattled Blues owner Carson Yeung earlier this month after trying for six months to strike a deal.

After a potential deal failed he said: “I guess there will not be any chance for anyone to buy the club as after six months trying I found a lot that is uncertain and could not come into a proper way to get the matter to finalise.

“The consortium and myself really feel bad, and now maybe I will consider a takeover of another English club instead.

“It is really sad, I would really love for it to happen, but what can I do? Please tell Blues fans that we tried very hard to do it but by some reason we just can’t make it happen.

“Perhaps sometime in the future, maybe, but just not now,” he added.

Carsten Yeung continues to defend himself in the Hong Kong District Court over five counts of alleged money-laundering.