WOTMT
Club 1867 Re-booted
A quick response to Mr Chansiri's latest statement

On Wednesday 16th January at 11pm Mr Chansiri placed a statement on the club website. The critical message was that without a solution to the FFP (P&S) challenge by March 2019 the soft transfer embargo will be re-imposed and without a solution by the end of the financial year (May 2019 I believe) that will become a full embargo. Does Steve Bruce know this? We know that Mr Chansiri is at the limit of the financial losses he can cover under the FFP (P&S) rules and therefore the club either needs new FFP allowable income such as ticket sales or transfer fees. Mr Chansiri’s statement indicated that the Club 1867 initiative will be resurrected in some form that was not yet determined, the purpose being to be that new income source. This feels like a last throw of the dice at sustaining the model which has not worked after promotion was not achieved with a costly, ageing squad that is susceptible to injuries. Recently a few of us wrote a letter to Mr Chansiri to seek to explore the possibility of a constructive two-way dialogue process with fans about the future strategy for our club. The letter was sent to Mr Chansiri  on 7th January, the text of that letter is printed below.

“Dear Mr Chansiri,

We write to you as a group of long standing Sheffield Wednesday supporters who wish to engage with you in a process of dialogue and discussion on the future of our club. We have significant concerns about the current position of the club particularly related to the financial model and how this interacts with the EFL P&S rules, and on the football side of the club in respect of the first team. We understand that you feel as passionately about the club as we do it’s just that we might have a different view about how that passion should be translated into practical action. We hope that dialogue and discussion can result in a consensus approach to these matters.

We note that at the Fans Forum on 19th December that you indicated that were going to put the club up for sale, that is clearly your right, but we are not sure that such a move would be the best thing for the club at this point in time. We feel that energy that would otherwise be put into a sale process would be much better channelled into improving and changing how the club is run. It would be better if we could get some unanimity between fans and club hierarchy on what it is realistically possible for our club to achieve in the Championship given its size, attendances and resource base, and also recognising that it does not have PL parachute payments, and that the club wants to comply with P&S rules. The key areas we would like to discuss are:

1. Will the club establish an effective 2 way conversation between the club and fans – not just large forums, but also a sophisticated survey, smaller fan forums and well-structured focus groups? That process would need some independent management to ensure all parties have confidence in the process. Hopefully that would produce consensus between club and fans about what our realistic expectations are and will hopefully produce a shared understanding of:

  • What realistically the club can contribute to achieving objectives
  • What realistically you can contribute to achieving objectives
  • What realistically fans can contribute to achieving objectives

2. Utilising the learning from the above process to manage expectations and inform a future strategy for the club that both the club and fans can sign up to.

3. Understanding where we sit in relation to EFL  P&S rules and what are the scale of the actions the club will have to take in order to remain compliant, and avoid further transfer embargoes or a reference to an EFL Disciplinary Commission.

4. What has been learnt by the club from how we got from May 2016 to where we are now, particularly with regard to player recruitment, and what gives us confidence that we will do things differently in future.

5. How the club can be a major institution in city life, reaching out to the community, being open and accessible, having active engagement with the voluntary and charity sector, and a clear strategy for supporting community sports clubs etc.

We hope that you agree that it would be positive to establish a structured engagement process on these matters and we would welcome a meeting taking place at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely”

The letter was signed by me and 7 other long standing fans.

The response to that letter, received on 8th January from Trevor Braithwait, Director of Communications is re-produced below.

“Thanks for the letter for which Mr Chansiri passes on his thanks too.

Almost all topics mentioned have been covered in detail at forums, be they larger ones or the smaller Steering Groups.

Mr Chansiri has also taken time to personally meet supporters like yourself on a one to one basis to talk through any concerns.

Two-way communication will continue moving forward – if I can be of any further assistance please let me know.

Regards”

The club response was a very quick ‘thanks, but no thanks’. Fans can judge whether they think that was the most constructive response. Personally I would have thought that trying to work out a new strategy and doing it on the basis of a thoughtful intelligence gathering process with fans to test out what might work and may not work, and what fans might accept would have been useful. But that’s just me. Anyway we tried.

We will now wait to see what the Club 1867 2019 re-boot looks like. It certainly did not work last time when it was introduced without prior consultation with fans. And are our fan not already making the largest percentage contribution to club turnover in the Championship? If Club 1867 does not succeed in resolving our FFP problems, then, to avoid the transfer embargo which Mr Chansiri says we are heading for, it will require the club to sell players to do so. Selling players is anathema to Mr Chansiri but selling players is part and parcel of running a football club when that club does not have the level of income that some other clubs do. I am sure that the vast majority of fans do not want our club to be the subject of a hard transfer embargo with key decisions effectively being made by EFL and not by our club. We need a longer term sustainable strategy towards running our football club that is consistent with the resources available and what fans can afford to pay.

Keep your eyes peeled for future developments!

Return to Latest Articles
23.07.2019
Mailing List
Why not join our mailing list. We'll send you lists of wotmt events which include (but are not restricted to) "Gerald Sibon, My aardvark and me - poetry reading nights with a Dutch surrealist", "Learn how to head a ball with Shefki Kuqi".