Milan Mandaric hailed for saving Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday chairman Howard Wilkinson has hailed Milan Mandaric's takeover as "one of the most important days in the recent history of our great club" after the Owls confirmed the £8million sale to the Stock Exchange.

Leicester chairman Mandaric, 72, will say goodbye to Foxes fans at the Walkers Stadium tonight when he quits his post ahead of the televised npower Championship clash with Nottingham Forest.

The Serbian-born businessman has struck deals with all Wednesday's creditors, including the Co-operative Bank and former Owls chairman Dave Allen, to wipe out the club's £30million debts.

Wilkinson said: "I believe this to be one of the most important days in the recent history of our great club.

"Our trials and tribulations have been well documented, but I can now see a brighter future for Sheffield Wednesday.

"Our club has been on the brink of administration and if this were to happen then so many people around our club would have suffered.

"We do have one final hurdle to cross, and that is for shareholders to approve the sale at the upcoming emergency general meeting."

The deal has yet to be rubber-stamped by shareholders at an EGM on December 14, but the club has confirmed it has already received "irrevocable undertakings from 43.6% of the company's shareholders to vote in favour of the deal".

Wilkinson added: "I will always be grateful to Milan Mandaric for showing the determination to save Sheffield Wednesday.

"We've been able to spend some time in recent days speaking about football and what needs to be done here. I look forward to working with Milan in building a strong club in which we can all be proud.

"I would also like to put on record my thanks and appreciation to the whole staff and supporters of Sheffield Wednesday, who have stuck with us through thick and thin.

"In particular, I would like to thank our chief executive Nick Parker, who has worked night and day to save Sheffield Wednesday from administration."

Mandaric agreed a £7million settlement with the Co-op Bank, who were owed £23million by the club, and five directors last week, but former chairman Allen, owed £2.4million, had refused to accept an initial offer of £250,000.

Three directors and two former directors agreed to accept 50% of the money they were owed, but will be paid in full if Wednesday are promoted to the Barclays Premier League.

Mandaric, buoyed by the support he had received from Owls fans since making his intentions public, instructed his lawyers to make an improved offer of £1.5million to Allen last week and an agreement was reached in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Mandaric said: "Sheffield Wednesday is one of the most famous names in football.

"I've been able to speak to a lot of people in and around the club in recent weeks and their passion for Sheffield Wednesday has helped inspire me to get to this point.

"I give the supporters and everybody who cares for this club an assurance that if shareholders vote in favour of this deal, then I will do everything in my power, working with Howard, Nick and Alan Irvine to again make Sheffield Wednesday a real force in English football."

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