MILAN SHOULD BE GIVEN GOLDEN GOODBYE
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.