The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

FAREWELL Mi­lan Man­daric. At 76, it seems foot­ball’s Mr Fix-it is fi­nally con­sign­ing his hard­hat and tool­kit to the gar­den shed.

In sell­ing Sh­effield Wed­nes­day to Thai busi­ness­man De­jphon Chan­siri, the man who made it his busi­ness to re­sus­ci­tate ail­ing gi­ants may just have re­vived­his last.

When Man­daric ar­rived at Hills­bor­ough in Novem­ber 2010, Wed­nes­day were sick. A club once among the great­est in the land were £30m in debt, mired in ad­min­is­tra­tion and a whisker away from go­ing out of busi­ness.

Man­daric took the hit, not only con­tribut­ing £7m of his own money to­wards clear­ing the debts but also over­see­ing a re­turn to the Cham­pi­onship.

He promised then that he would do “ev­ery­thing in my power” to re­store Sh­effield Wed­nes­day to the top ta­ble. And al­most from the mo­ment he won pro­mo­tion, Man­daric be­gan search­ing for some­one with deeper pock­ets.

Now he has found him and, for the first time in two decades, Owls sup­port­ers can look to the fu­ture with re­al­is­tic hopes of re­join­ing the elite.

So while they are ob­vi­ously ec­static at the ar­rival of Chan­siri and his cash, I hope those fans turn out in force to give Man­daric an almighty send-off against Cardiff on Satur­day.

Not just for what he did for them, but in hon­our of sim­i­lar SOS mis­sions at Portsmouth and Le­ices­ter.

Yes, Man­daric made a tidy profit from all of them, not least Wed­nes­day who were bought for £1 and sold for £30m. Mother Theresa he ain’t.

But that was never the name of the game. He loved foot­ball and he hated see­ing fa­mous names on their up­pers. And let’s face it – while richer men got out the barge­poles, Man­daric was the only one will­ing to jump in and get his hands dirty.

Man­daric has done enough for foot­ball. The time has come to ride into the sun­set – hope­fully with the cheers of Hills­bor­ough ring­ing in his ears.

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