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Roker Roundup: Charlie Methven reveals Sunderland’s plan to take over Gateshead & County Durham

Charlie Methven has revealed how Sunderland got under his skin, and how the new owners plan to ‘aggressively target’ County Durham and Gateshead in opening up the club to new supporters.

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Methven discusses Sunderland’s future

Roker Report’s own Ken Spours sat down to chat with Charlie Methven recently and ahead of part two of that interview being released later this morning, we’re providing a little teaser of what is to come.

Methven discussed Niall Quinn’s famous quote about ‘Sunderland getting under his skin’, and how he initially didn’t get it:

The first time I looked round the stadium I saw a big poster with a quote from Niall Quinn that went something like this – ‘at Arsenal I became a footballer, at Man City I became a man, but Sunderland got under my skin.’

I looked at it and I guess at a logical level I understood it, but to be honest I didn’t really get it. Four or five months later, I said to some friends I’d made up there, “Sh*t, Sunderland’s got under my skin. I now totally understand what Niall Quinn meant.”

It’s been the most enlivening experience of Stewart’s and my working lives. We’ve both been in the working world for 25 years, beavering away on different stuff, and we’ve never felt more alive than we have in these last sixth months.

Sunderland’s director also revealed that he and Stewart Donald intend to relentlessly target County Durham and other areas in the North East that may have been turned black and white after years of neglect by the club, areas like Gateshead:

We see Sunderland as the club of County Durham - a densely-populated hinterland between the Tyne and the Tees. To be honest, it’s quite clear to me that the club has neglected this broader area since Niall Quinn, with whole towns gradually being allowed to turn black and white.

An example of this is the borderland town of Gateshead that has become more of a Newcastle place in recent years having once been more red and white. We need to head into these areas and explain the unique selling points of our club, targeting football fans who are ‘swing voters’ and looking for a fun, cheap, family-friendly, down-to-earth genuine football experience. Stewart and I are going to be relentless in targeting these areas.

You can read part one of Methven’s interview with Roker Report HERE and part two will be available from 10am today exclusively on

Former trialist links up with Hibs

Sunderland took Bognor Regis midfielder Tommy Block on trial in the summer and ahead of that trial spell, we interviewed him for Roker Report (which you can read HERE).

Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, no move was forthcoming but his dream of making it in the professional game is not over yet as Scottish Premiership side Hibernian are interested in him.

Neil Lennon’s side have taken Block on trial for a week as he looks to impress enough to earn himself a full-time contract but his manager at Bognor Regis Jack Pearce believes it’s just a matter of time before he is snapped up:

If he continues to play like he has and develops to his potential then, as you would expect, bigger clubs will be looking at him.

That is a just a matter of fact for a club at our level.

Bognor News

Donald to the rescue

Stewart Donald has made it clear since his takeover that he intends to return Sunderland to it’s family club roots and making sure fans feel part of the club.

He has lived up to that promise and continues to do so, with the club chairman responding to a Sunderland fan on Twitter whose 7-year-old daughter is about to have her first birthday party.

Although the mother was worried about not getting enough responses to the birthday party invites, Donald was quick to offer the club’s services:

Sunderland AFC

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