Supporters Trust release explosive statement calling for Dejphon Chansiri to 'take a clear step back' from Sheffield Wednesday after relegation from the Championship
Sheffield Wednesday Supporters’ Trust have released an explosive 650-word statement demanding change from the very top at the club just minutes after their relegation from the Championship was confirmed.
The open letter, sent to the club, details a series of ‘priorities for change’ on a number of matters ranging from ticket pricing to the handling of the club by Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri
The Trust, whose board is made up of a range of figures including former manager Chris Turner, former Owls communications manager Steven Chu and football finance expert Dr Dan Plumley, previously sent an open letter to Chansiri in February expressing their concerns for the future of the club.
The statement in full, including the letter sent to Wednesday, can be read below:
Although relegation to League One has been expected for several weeks, expectation does not lessen the pain now it is confirmed. The twelve, and ultimately six, point deduction we began the season with cast a cloud over the season before it began.
The two Independent Panel hearings confirmed that the points deduction was imposed, not because the sale of Hillsborough was outside of the permitted rules, but simply because the paperwork associated with the sale was not submitted to the correct deadline.
Derby County managed to get this right, Sheffield Wednesday did not, and it seems this act of gross incompetence is a contributing factor to our relegation.
To add insult to injury, in pursuing its strategy to avoid a points deduction our club has ultimately lost ownership and control of its historic home. Rather than playing there for free, the club must now pay £2.5m in rent for each of the next 30 years to continue to play at Hillsborough.
With significantly reduced income in League One this is a huge sum to factor in annually and will take precedence over player wages.
We fear the club now faces a real crisis that has been building for four years whilst those in charge of the club have done little to avoid it. As Steve Chu, a member of our Advisory Panel, recently commented on Twitter, “Sheffield Wednesday has become a team without enough heart, and money without a soul”.
In December 2020, almost 6000 supporters signed an open letter to the club, penned by the Trust, seeking urgent and substantial changes in the way it is being run. In response the club set up a fan engagement panel that has met twice.
Although welcome, this limited response to a much broader problem was not acceptable then, it most certainly is not acceptable now that relegation is confirmed. Wholesale changes are needed at our football club. You can read our letter to the club here……
Relegation to League One presents huge challenges on and off the field. The only way any positives can come out of it are if it acts as a catalyst change. The priorities for change are:
- Mr Chansiri to take a clear step back from the running of the club; instead adopting a modern, forward thinking structure that is likely to include a new Chairman, a CEO and non-executive board members in place to lead and manage it.
- Implementation of a long-term strategic plan for the club; that plan must be focused on sustainability and building the capacity of the club so that it can operate successfully in a challenging environment.
- Affordable ticket, merchandise and hospitality pricing that attracts fans and businesses to the club rather than repelling them.
- Effective engagement with supporters and the Sheffield community, so that we all feel “we have our Wednesday back.”
The Trust is owner neutral. This is not about Mr Chansiri personally. We would be making the same arguments if the club were owned by another individual whose leadership and management had been equally disastrous.
Business organisation at SWFC, whereby the positions of Owner, Chairman, and effective CEO, are held by one person, (Mr Chansiri), plus only having one board member, has now been demonstrably proven to have disastrous consequences.
Leadership and management at our club needs to change. Fans now need to see and hear from Mr Chansiri on what he intends do to ensure that our club does not drift further into crisis.
We need to see our club rebuilt and refreshed with a new approach that is fit for purpose. We need a credible strategy for leadership, a new plan to stabilise the club and then move it forward.
Without this the demands from supporters for Mr Chansiri’s departure, and for new ownership, will grow louder and louder.
SWFC Supporters Trust Board