Birmingham City and West Brom’s Championship rivals in financial trouble as owner makes ‘save club’ plea

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The owner of a rival club to Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion in the Championship has issued a shocking statement to the fans.

Sheffield Wednesday owner Dephjon Chansiri has demanded that Owls fans pledge £2 million towards the club’s outstanding debts to ‘save’ their club, according to a recent interview featured in the Sheffield Star.

In a startling interview, the Thai businessman blamed a lack of ‘cash flow’ on the club’s financial woes - despite this, he stated that he himself is ‘not broke’. Due to Wednesday’s existing HMRC bill, Chansiri cannot inject money to pay it - it must come directly from the club’s funds, which are not currently available.

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He also downplayed the fans’ ownership of the club in an almost mocking statement, criticising them for their frequent calls for him to leave his post. Additionally, he also told the fans to cease with their protests. Currently, Wednesday sit 24th in the Championsip, having won six points from 14 games.

What did Dephjon Chansiri say?

In the interview, Chansiri said: “With HMRC, if we don’t pay until, say, the fifth of November, then that means it’s been 14 days, but if we don’t pay wages as well then that’s five days - that means a total of 19 days. Each issue counts separately.

“If 20,000 people gave £100 then it’s £2m, and it’d be clear - so we can finish it. That would cover everything, HMRC and the wages. That would need to be done before November 10th if they don’t want to pass the 30 days, but that means that there can be no next time. It’d need to be before to make it safe - if it was on the fifth then there would be 10 days left… If we were to hit 30 days then we’ll get a ban for three [transfer] windows.

“Why would I need to play a game? If I don’t pay my staff and they get mad with me then my club is going to be worse. If the staff don’t get money, they don’t do their job and the club is worse off. Why would I take the risk to make problems for my people? That is my last choice to do.

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“I always try to protect my people as much as I can, but if I try my best and cannot do it, then my people must understand. If they don’t understand then I cannot help that. I can create trouble since Covid if I want to, I did not do it. You do not understand how important this club is to me and my family. I have been here nine years and it is a part of my life.

“If I had money in the bank, why wouldn’t I pay? There is no cash flow, money is not in the bank, how am I going to pay? I need to wait until money comes in. I did it last month, if I did not inject money I would have already done it. There was no need to wait until this month.

“All over the world there is a shortage of cash flow because of the economy, of Covid, of Russia, Israel. This is normal in business now and I need to accept that because the club relies on my money. The people who owe me money in business have not paid on time because they are short of cash flow too. It is a domino, it will affect more people. What can I do? We prepare but the money has not come. If they do not do that, what can I do? This situation is happening all over the world.

“Those who say it is their club, when it was clear we had an issue with HMRC, people came out and said ‘Chairman, you need to take responsibility to pay’, that if we don’t pay we have to sell ‘our club’ - why do they say ‘our club’? I never heard any fan say ‘we need to prepare to save our club’, they just say I have to leave. It’s funny, they say they are owners and I am [the] custodian.

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“We try to generate money for the club as best as we can. We need to try to get money but the negative fans don’t help. I am not blaming fans. I am not blaming, I am explaining they don’t help. People [potential sponsors] don’t know us, they just see us on social media, so why are they going to sponsor us when they just see rubbish all the time? We need fans in bad times as well as good.”

Speaking directly to the fans, Chansiri declared: “We will talk about negative ones first. The 1867 or whoever they are, it’s funny. People just follow them and they don’t know who they are. They want to protest and for me to leave, but nobody comes to save the club. The more positive ones, who backs me up? Then show me, back me up. We don’t have money. The first thing you need to do is save the club. If we don’t pay in 30 days we have a big issue. If you want to save your club, this is your chance.

“Do not protest, save your club. If not, we will get a transfer ban over three windows, there’s a possibility we will go to League Two or the National League. Maybe the negative fans would be happy, they wouldn’t be able to moan that things are too expensive. So now you have the right. If the positive fans want me to stay, then this is their chance to save their club.

“I always think about my people, and I’ll do my best, but what I can tell them is that whatever I owe them, even if nobody pays me, I will pay them (eventually). I’m not cheating. If there are issues then that is my responsibility and I need to solve it… Whoever really needs something, we will pay them. But maybe not all of it, we’ll try to divide it to help out people. If there are people with problems who cannot wait then we’ll make sure we don’t create problems for them.

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“We don’t want to create trouble for them, especially for the ones who are on minimum wage or part-time - for them we’ll try and pay them everything. It’s only the ones who have the higher salaries that may have to wait… But if some people say that they need it all now, even if they don’t need it, then I can’t help - because of the cash flow problem. But this could change very quickly.”

Chansiri bookended the interview by saying: “I try very hard to get money here. It’s difficult, they (those with debts owed to him) promise me but nothing comes. I still love this club. I don’t want anything to happen to this club. I ask the ‘owners’ to save your club because I have done my best. If we’re lucky and money comes tomorrow or another day then no issue. But I am trying many times. I should let the fans know and I ask them to save and love their club. This is your best chance, especially the negative ones.

“If you don’t want to save your club, then don’t call yourselves the owners and me the custodian. If you save your club, then you have the right to ask me to leave. There is no need to make it complicated. I could leave no issue. That is the easy way. I have tried my best for almost nine years, I try everything even in the Covid situation with no revenue. If I wanted to make it bad, I would have already left. I don’t need to be here.”

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