Lately I have noticed that Doyen and Amadeu Paixao are getting more of a mention amongst our fan base and while some people are making fairly accurate assessments, a lot are really wide of the mark. While I am not expert, not by a long chalk, I have monitored this situation for over two years, even when the going was good.
This is a subject I’ve wanted to discuss for a while but it’s a very complicated matter and I have been advised by numerous different people, including some in football, to be careful with what I write or what I’m hinting at. Obviously the reader can make up their own mind on whether what I’m saying is fact or fiction as with any of my posts.
I also want to say that I have presented issues surrounding this whole matter to the club and to the chairman directly, more than once. I always feel it’s best to do things privately at the outset, rather than just go ahead and post nonsense on a supporters forum for example, for attention and in an attempt to stay relevant.
I first became aware of Doyen’s involvement at the club when we brought in Vincent Sasso, Marco Matias and Lucas Joao in the summer of 2015. It was a really exciting time for everyone connected with Wednesday as we were bringing in quite a few new players and adding some much needed quality to the squad.
You have to first understand that Doyen are Doyen in many different guises. The Doyen we had an agreement with is not the same company as the one who “looks after” George Hirst for example. Obviously Doyen Sports, Doyen Global, Vela Management and Principal Sports Management are all connected but they all operate separately.
I’d heard of Doyen Sports previously, all for the wrong reasons and a quick Google search will show you everything “bad” about them and not really much good. So with this, I began asking questions and seeing what I could find out about their involvement with us.
The first thing to note is that Amadeu Paixao seemingly played a part in who would be our manager or head coach going forward. This is backed up by an article written by Costin Stucan who is a part of the Football Leaks team. The article can be read by clicking here.
I had also communicated numerous times with Football Leaks myself and this image details the same information.
This image was obtained by Costin Stucan too and it is a communication between Amadeu Paixao and Sheffield Wednesday discussing potential new managers and head coaches.
Now this may look bad but the reality is he could have just been recommending who he feels would be a good choice. A closer look at the names to me does reveal something to be aware of though. Both Sergio Conceicao and Paulo Fonseca are “Doyen men.”
In Fonseca’s case he ended up at Braga before Amadeu moved him to a club he has very close connections to, Shakhtar Donetsk. We’ll come on to Shakhtar a bit later. Amadeu did provide the connection for us to secure Carlos as our new head coach and I was under the impression, like many, that Amadeu was his agent too.
After doing some asking around and a bit of digging, it turns out that this wasn’t as clear cut as made out or implied by many. Anyway, I digress, it certainly seems from where I’m sat that Amadeu and his business partner, Nelio Lucas, likely were influences in who we appointed.
So, looking at the summer of 2015 where we did bring in quite a few new players as we quickly added quality to the squad. Vincent Sasso arrived on loan at Wednesday but there was an involvement with Vela Management, a company linked to Doyen.
Doyen also had an agreement in place at Nacional, the club from which we acquired both Marco Matias and Lucas Joao. From what I understand Doyen had lent Nacional money and in return acquired some ownership of their players. With this, both players were brought to Wednesday by Amadeu, probably in the hope they would go on to be worth a lot of £££.
What is also a telling factor is that Nelio Lucas, the Doyen Sports CEO, had close ties to Watford owner Gino Pozzo and it’s no surprise that we did business with them in that summer and have done since. Daniel Pudil, Lewis McGugan and Fernando Forestieri arrived and we did make an attempt to bring in Matej Vydra too.
There are plenty of things to remember here before anyone rushes off jumping to conclusions that Doyen had the full running of the club. First of all, at this time we had the “transfer committee” which consisted of Glenn Roeder, Paul Senior and Jonathan Hill.
To my knowledge, everyone had the chance to recommend at least one player the club would pursue and attempt to sign. Paul recommended Ross Wallace, who has been a superb acquisition for us. Jonathan was the one to mention Darryl Lachman and Glenn recommended nobody I’m told. So I’m not sure that these rumours of him identifying players such as Jonathan Kodjia are anything more than just that, rumours.
We also had Pete Piempongsant. Pete, to my knowledge, is extremely well connected in football, largely thanks to his Dad Pairoj. Pete was integral in bringing in the likes of Jack Hunt from Crystal Palace through his connections to Rio Ferdinand for example.
Having all these people involved for the most part was a bad idea but it did allow Doyen and Amadeu to not have sole influence, everybody could be kept in check. At the end of the day the chairman needed help not only running the club but in terms of transfers. He had the £££ but he didn’t have the connections to make things happen but these guys did.
It was during the first season our involvement with Doyen was made public in a way after the picture below surfaced on Twitter.
In the run up to this the original transfer committee disbanded with both Paul Senior and Jonathan leaving the club. Glenn Roeder stayed on at the club until December before he too was axed and this left us with just Amadeu Paixao and Pete Piempongsant on the transfer side of things.
After a great first season under Carlos we made it all the way to Wembley and narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight at the first time of asking. If we had won that game, we wouldn’t be in the position financially that we are now, that’s obvious. It was after Wembley where everything started to go wrong in my opinion.
Amadeu Paixao became the sole adviser and voice for the chairman. Pete Piempongsant had left his role at the club and Amadeu being left to his own devices wasn’t something I felt was healthy. Now I’m not saying he was up to no good but it put him in a very powerful position in my opinion, more powerful than the one he was in during 2015.
Before we get onto the subject of transfers, I spoke before about Amadeu having strong links to Shakhtar Donetsk. He had helped get Paulo Fonseca in the door there as manager and he was also integral at bringing Joe Palmer to Sheffield Wednesday. I was told he first of all advised on Joe as a potential CEO for us previously before he was hired at the club’s COO.
The summer transfer window post Wembley was always going to be a huge on for us. If we got things right, we’d likely make the jump from a top six side to automatic promotion contenders. I was lucky enough to be privy to the majority of players identified to take us forward and I have to say there were some good names on the list too.
Grant Hanley, Lewis Dunk, Daniel Pudil, Scott Malone, Joe Bennett, Alex Pritchard, Jacob Murphy, Danny Williams, Sam Clucas, Adam Reach, Ross McCormack, Steven Fletcher and Moussa Dembele are just a few I can recall off the top of my head but from around 30+ names, only 3 arrived.
Daniel Pudil was returning to the club after a successful loan spell the season before, Adam Reach is arguably one of the best signings we have made over recent times and Steven Fletcher is a player I was pleased we acquired. I often spoke about how he would bring the best out in Gary Hooper and vice versa but was unaware at that point that he had a chronic knee issue.
We also saw Almen Abdi join the club from, wait for it, Watford. The 29 year old was never mentioned to me as a target and neither was 31 year old David Jones. The reality is, neither were the players we actually needed. There has also been concerns surrounding Abdi’s fitness and a persistent knee problem from day one.
I personally got the impression Wednesday had begun signing players based on what they had done previously, not what they could offer going forward. Apart from Adam Reach, we were also bringing players who would never have resale value too.
Something else bugged me and that was the fact that we were suddenly becoming a club paying out big wages. This also clearly had an impact on some of the players already at the club too, Fernando Forestieri in particular. The likes of Abdi, Fletcher and Jones had dropped out of the top flight and their wages undoubtedly reflect that. Then there’s Urby Emanuelson…
We needed cover for Pudil but the reality was we had it in Adam Reach if we needed it. We had tried to bring in Joe Bennett who had played for us the season before on loan but after we beat Villa, Tony Xia pulled the plug on the move. So we strangely signed Urby Emanuelson on a free transfer.
Look, Urby has been a good player in his career but he was 30, hadn’t played much football and had previously had surgery on his ankle. I’m aware that the advice was given not to sign him but we did and he made the grand total of one appearance for us, from the bench, playing for 16 minutes in total.
During his time with us, he spent a lot of time injured and I was told that when they signed him they realised he was too small and weak. I wasn’t aware a player could go from being 5’7 to 6’2 on an aeroplane. Urby had also declared himself to be one of the top earners at the club but I’m reliably informed this was never the case but let’s face it he would have been on a decent whack.
We also failed to make any money on players leaving the club at this time too. Players left but on free transfers and the reality is that the wage bill had shot through the roof and those leaving failed to have any impact reducing it. The alarm bells really should have started ringing here in my opinion.
We had highlighted positions which needed strengthening. We needed a quality centre half and cover, we needed a big midfielder, a winger with pace and guile and these players never arrived. So Wednesday rather than improving had stayed the same but with a much heftier wage budget that had already caused issues with Forestieri.
Just to point out here that what Doyen do is look to obtain young talent at football clubs, especially the ones where they have their people inside. Lucas Joao for example at Nacional. In England it’s Doyen Global who “look after” players and it seems to me due to our connections with Doyen, we sort of left the backdoor open for them to get our most promising talent George Hirst on the books.
When they get one, you know they will get more and Matt Penney, Warren Clarke and Jack Lee are also being “looked after” by them now too. As many people know, I used to go to the press conferences at Middlewood Road and one time two Doyen Global agents were waiting for access but had said they were journalists.
Once we got inside the training complex I talked to one of them, Daniel Ullman, and that’s when I realised they were from Doyen as they were there to see Lucas Joao. I told them what I thought of Doyen and their operation but the question is why were they even posing as journos. In the end they took Marco and Lucas outside of the building and in case you’re wondering here’s photo evidence.
There was photo evidence here but I was asked to remove it.
In the January transfer window we brought in Morgan Fox, 23 years old, for 900k. I do genuinely feel that Morgan will go on to be a good player for us. Nobody is playing well right now and he’s been made a scapegoat but let’s see when the team is in form or if he’s played at centre half in a three on a regular basis. Sam Winnall was also a clever signing for 500k at 25 years old, you can’t complain at either deal there.
We did however agree to sign Jordan Rhodes from Boro for 8 million paid in one go if we were promoted that season or in 4 instalments if not, hence why it was a loan deal. We’d took on another player with huge wages and a club record fee, even though we had brought in Winnall who had proven himself capable at this level.
Another telling factor is that we once again ignored strengthening where it was needed instead spending the money elsewhere. Looking at it then, Jordan was always going to have some resale value but it was unlikely to ever exceed the 8 million pound mark in my opinion.
In my opinion we over achieved in 16/17 by finishing fourth. The reality was the squad had not improved that much and teams were coming and sitting in against us for the most part. It was another season which ended in disappointment and it was another summer where we needed to get it right more than ever.
Again, players left the club but for nothing. We didn’t make a penny. Jordan became our player and we signed George Boyd, aged 31, dropping down from the Premier League. Another player who is going to be on a good wage and another who has failed to deliver.
On George, I find it slightly interesting how he was the first to come out and say that we weren’t fit enough under the former management but after decking it in training he had to have two operations, meaning he spent a lot of time away from the club. Also, he still doesn’t look fit now himself, weeks after returning…
The positions we needed to strengthen had once again been identified. We wanted two centre halfs as we did the season prior. One to form a partnership with Tom Lees and one to act as cover. Sean Morrison was the one we were after but we didn’t manage to bring him in. We went after Tommie Hoban too but he got injured. There was also Johan Djourou whose move broke down due to a signing on fee.
It seemed like we had all our eggs in one basket and in the end we brought in Joost van Aken, aged 23, who again will go on to be a good player for us. The reality is though he was thrown in at the deep end. There just never seems to be any urgency when it comes to transfers and that’s been a huge downfall for us.
The reality to me is that when players are targeted it’s then down to Amadeu to get to work. I have never heard of anything to suggest that anything other is the case. Is he possibly not able to bring in the players we need? Does he not have the right connections? Or could he be picking and choosing who is and who isn’t available? I don’t know.
What’s also been the case is that we haven’t made any money from players leaving either. This has been a major problem for us financially and a car crash waiting to happen. Again you would have to question why players haven’t been sold. I did hear we were demanding ridiculous amounts of ££ for players or trying to insert clauses, whether that is down to Amadeu Paixao or the chairman I’m not sure.
A quick note on the chairman from me. We don’t really see eye to eye on a number of things but I want him to be successful. If he’s successful, it means Sheffield Wednesday will be. I don’t want him to sell up but I do feel he needs help from proper people around him.
As you can see, Doyen have a track record and while many would dismiss Football Leaks and other investigators as telling lies or being hackers, they have yet to get anything wrong.
I want this project to work and to see us make the step up back to the top flight but things are getting a bit desperate now as everyone can tell. The financial issues are there in black and white and this has been caused by the money being spent on the wrong players since Wembley, by the huge wages being paid out and by our failure to sell anyone for a fee.
Wednesday in my opinion desperately need to replace Amadeu Paixao with someone who will assist the chairman properly. We need people working for Sheffield Wednesday, not against them. We need to stop signing players who are past their best, stop handing out big money and start selling players.
Something else that I became aware of recently is the fact that Amadeu Paixao’s company, Principal Sports Management, looks set to close after being active since 2013. He and Nelio Lucas are the directors of the firm and I believe this is the one Wednesday have been using most recently.
Amadeu does however have another company of his own called Foremost Sports Consultants who I’m guessing he will use going forward.
With the release of the accounts last week, everybody is already questioning where we go from here. The reality is that this summer is going to be huge, providing that we can pick up the points to remain in the division as right now I’m questioning what’s happening on the pitch too.
I did hear that Jos, who was recommended by Amadeu I believe, was not made aware of the injury problems prior to accepting the job at the club and I also find it interesting he didn’t bring a backroom team with him too. Where are the analysts for example?
Anyway, if you have stuck with reading this ’til the end cheers.