Sheffield Wednesday: Why Owls fans aren’t getting carried away with Thai takeover link

Hafiz Mammadov and Milan Mandaric
Hafiz Mammadov and Milan Mandaric
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Talks remain on-going between Owls chairman Milan Mandaric and a group of Thai investors who have expressed an interest in buying the Championship club.

But Wednesdayites are refusing to get carried away at the possibility of a takeover on social media. There have been so many false dawns over the years at Hillsborough that fans will only believe it once the deal has gone through.

Part of the reason for fans caution is the Hafiz Mammadov affair. It was just over four months ago the Azerbaijani businessman’s proposed buyout of Wednesday fell through. Here is a timeline showing how Mammadov’s takeover unravelled:

Takeover timeline:

3 June 2014: Azerbaijani businessman Hafiz Mammadov is reportedly on the verge of buying Wednesday, having been in talks with Mandaric for several weeks. Mandaric will stay on as chairman.

10 June 2014: Mammadov completes takeover, subject to Football League ratification. The deal is believed to be in the region of £40m.

27 June 2014: RC Lens - the French club owned by pending Owls owner Mammadov - have their promotion to Ligue 1 suspended due to discrepancies in their budget for next season. Issue surrounds a £10 million euro fund due from Mammadov which has not been transferred into the club’s accounts from Azerbaijan.

July 1 2014: Mandaric says the financial troubles facing Lens will have no impact on Owls.

July 4 2014: Mammadov clears a major takeover barrier by paying around £8m to his French club Lens.

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July 9 2014: Mammadov threatens legal action after reports he had been arrested and imprisoned in his homeland Azerbaijan. He denied the “false and malicious speculation” from mainland Europe suggesting he had been arrested and linked to financial problems.

July 27 2014: Owls confirm Mammadov’s takeover has been delayed. Completion has been held up because Mammadov has been dealing with his other business interests in Azerbaijan.

August 8 2014: Mandaric reassures fans Mammadov still wants to complete buyout but threatens to pull the plug on the takeover if it continues to drag on.

21 August 2014: Mandaric admits his regret over the premature announcement of Mammadov’s proposed takeover. Blames the French media for leaking out the story, claiming that “pushed” the Owls into making a statement before a deal had been concluded.

4 September 2014: Mammadov’s proposed takeover breaks down. He failed to meet share price and payment for ‘Azerbaijan Land of Fire’ sponsorship deal.

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