Sunny days ahead for Sheffield Wednesday as owner targets EPL

London, Feb 29 (IANS) Hopes of Championship league club Sheffield Wednesday regaining their place in the top flight of English football were given a boost Monday.

The financial fortunes of the club have increased following its takeover last year by Thai fishing tycoon Dejphon Chansiri, reports Xinhua.

Chansiri, whose family controls one of the world’s biggest seafood producers, bought Sheffield Wednesday from former owner Milan Mandaric last year in a deal worth almost $42 million, and is targeting promotion to the English Premier League (EPL) within the next two years.

Sheffield Wednesday was formed in 1867, making them one of the world’s oldest football clubs. In 1992 they were a founder member of the EPL, only to be relegated to the second tier in 2000.

If Chansari’s ambitions are realised, it would mean the club, known as The Owls, celebrates its 150 anniversary by returning to top flight football in the world famous Premier League.

In accounts published on Monday, covering the year to May 31, 2015, turnover at Sheffield Wednesday rose by $1.5 million to more than $20 million due to a three percent increase in the average league attendance to 21,997, as well an increase in commercial activities.

Their home, Hillsborough Stadium, scene of one of football’s worst ever tragedies when 96 Liverpool fans died in a cup semi-final clash, has a capacity of just under 40,000. Improving fortunes under Chansari’s ownership have seen the club becoming debt free and reducing its losses during the period to just over $6.6 million.

The club finished 13th in the Football League Championship in the 2014/15 season and currently lie in sixth position in the division, which would guarantee them a place in the play-offs for promotion.

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