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SAFC NewsWipe: Bain Pulled Bieber's Plug; But European Giant Is Coming

In this evening's NewsWipe: Rumours have abounded that global superstar, Justin Bieber, is set to be announced as appearing at the Stadium of Light - but something more befitting of Sunderland's glorious football stadium is planned instead.

Bain Pulled Bieber Plug

Concerts have been part of the Stadium of Light calendar for the last seven years. The first megastars to play at England's sixth largest football stadium were Oasis back in 2009. Since then the likes of Pink, Take That, Foo Fighters, Cold Play, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, One Direction and Beyonce have all graced the stage at Sunderland.

And rumours have abounded of late that Justin Bieber is to be the latest global 'name' to play at the stadium next summer.

102.7 KIIS FM's Jingle Ball - Show
Justin Bieber onstage during KISS FM's Jingle Ball 2016
Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

He isn't.

He was, but the plug got pulled on that idea as soon as new Chief Executive, Martin Bain, was installed at the Stadium Of Light. Bain has spoken in depth since he got the measure of Sunderland about the club getting back to its roots and ensuring it concentrates on being a football business first and foremost before it tries its hand at various other enterprising ways of ticking itself along.

And, no one can argue that the football business side of the operation is anywhere near successful. Half a decade of bobbing along at the bottom of the Premier League, hemorrhaging money each year - buying big and flogging cheap not long after - has wrecked the club as an enterprise.

No definite conclusion has ever been reached on whether the annual summer concerts have consistently turned a profit; and if no one can deny the economic boon they likely bring to the city as a whole, the financial and wider benefit to the football club is difficult to quantify.

Take That Present: The Circus Tour Live - Show
Take That at the Stadium of Light in 2009
Photo by Getty Images

Because, something has to change in Sunderland's summer preparations for upcoming Premier League seasons. Every year the campaign gets off to a disastrous start and the effort and subsequent panic and cash required to make up the shortfall is astronomical - not to mention the effect that five straight years of this has had on everyone's sanity.

Sunderland haven't played a home friendly in the close season for years. The stadium is given over to other cash-generating wheezes as the first team hit the roads of Europe or North America on an annual grand tour. And, such treks have their benefits - the club get to test themselves against some of the world's best and some of the world's worst; and the club gets to meet its global fanbase.

But, what about the rest of us - the few hundred thousand that reside in the region that count ourselves as 'red-and-white'? Some of us head off down the A1 or the A19 to Hartlepool, Darlington or Bishop Auckland. But most of us just forget about Sunderland AFC for a few blissful weeks of respite.

Sunderland AFC v Udinese - Pre Season Friendly
Gus Poyet signs one lucky fan's Jack Rodwell shirt before the pre-season friendly between Sunderland and Udinese at Bishop Auckland in 2009
Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images

And then the season starts and we lose eight - nine - ten games on the trot. Would a couple of home friendlies make a difference? Well, it couldn't do us much worse!

Not that anyone is blaming the summer concerts for the basket-case the club has been this past few years. That would be silly. But, it might just be worth a shot at doing something different.

And that's what supporters are starting to warm to about new CEO, Bain. He's making some changes - giving us the club back a little, shifting the back-office functions about and engendering some professionalism with the folk he's bringing in.

As for next summer - the club have something bigger and better than Bieber for us to enjoy. A certain huge European football club will be visiting the Stadium of Light as Sunderland's fantastic stadium enters its third decade. Whoever can it be?