“If we are relegated, will Chris Coleman stay?”
Anyone who has read any of my previous articles that have mentioned Coleman will know my man-crush on him both disturbs my wife and myself in equal measure. So from that standpoint it’s very clear to estimate my position on the matter.
As much as I detest the idea of back to back relegation, our only consistent position this season has been our inconsistency. I can’t get carried away with a rousing win or storming draws in games where all hope seemed lost. We have a propensity of making ourselves look very stupid in the very next match.
Coleman must be at least considering in his own head, his position as manager should the worst happen and his effort with a squad of young kids and permanently injured old pros falls before the final hurdle.
In the coming six weeks this issue may become clearer and Coleman himself may clarify if we still remain in the bottom three with only a few games to go. But it does need clarifying.
Has Coleman seen enough of Martin Bain and Ellis Short to realise his best route to club management glory lies elsewhere? Or, has he been touched by the 26,000 who remain mad enough to endure the Stadium of Light and the many thousands of amazing and truly brilliant fans who travel up and down the country to scream and holler his boys even when they are failing?
I’d imagine the vast majority of supporters do not blame Coleman for this mess and would love to see him stay. But will he? What are the club doing to convince him that his future remains here? Can Coleman himself see any glimmers of light moving forward that would ensure his ongoing commitment?
I for one would feel significantly better moving forward, that come what may, Coleman was here and determined to restore the club back to something resembling a working and sustainable football club.
“Just what is the situation with money, and would relegation mean administration?”
Obviously, we’ve all guessed what the current scenario is, after what can only be described as a highly frugal transfer window where, at one point, Coleman was trying to tempt players with Two for One Domino’s Pizza vouchers that were put through his letter box.
So, while we can all imagine there is no money in the pot, I for one am not 100% certain what that means for our current and future fiscal destiny. Does it mean, for example, if relegation takes places again, that our League One budget for next season would be competitive or would it be like this season, a case of waving a white flag and living in hope that a miracle can occur?
The winds of ‘administration’ have been blowing around Wearside for well over a year now and despite all protestations and denials they have never fully gone away. What would relegation mean in our fight to avoid administration? What would staying up mean to our finances? How close or far away from administration are we whether we continue our turbulent affair with the Championship or enter into a shotgun wedding with League One?
It’s recently been reported that Ellis Short fills our financial gaps to the tune of around £3m-per-month just to keep us in business. Some have suggested our gratitude for his ongoing generosity should be more eagerly given, considering the consequences should he no longer wish to cover our losses.
For me, covering our losses is his personal penance for years of financial and administrative mismanagement that have brought a once proud club to its knees.
I’m not grateful to him for feeling the cost of his own horrific mistakes. But we do need to know, in full clarity what his ownership situation is and just how long his so called ‘generosity’ will last should no buyer come along and change our footballing fate.
“What is the current situation with selling the club?“
Has there been many other subjects this season with less information available than this?
While our cousins up the road have had highly publicised and nationally reported interest in buying a club for £350,000,000, we - just 12 miles down the road, and with a club available for just £60,000,000 - could gather all the articles written about our potential suitors and fit them onto the back of a stamp.
Even the German consortium who were linked with a purchase last year were shrouded in mystery, with Ellis Short deciding almost laughably that he didn’t feel they had the best interests of the club at heart. Jeez, if Ellis Short felt these guys would destroy the club even more than him, I have to wonder just who this consortium was made up of? Had Robert Mugabe or ISIS decided to move into the world of football club ownership? Was it Donald Trump with a secret German bank account that is really controlled by Russian Facebook spy-bots?
So where are we now? Just how are our power-brokers approaching the sale of a multi-million pound, 130-year old institution? Yes, we know they’ve paid handsomely for a very glossy brochure but what are they ACTIVELY doing to sell the organisation? We know what Mike Ashley does - rightly or wrongly he very publicly and consistently expresses his desire to sell Newcastle, he openly shouts what price he seeks for it and when there is interest the whole negotiation becomes front page news, no doubt to let other interested parties know how serious he is and how close they are to losing their opportunity. You may not appreciate Mike Ashley’s style, his approach or even him as a man, but he has a clear approach to the sale of his club.
Short lives in the US now. He rarely visits to play with his once favourite toy. He has the club up for sale - this we do know. But we’re clueless to how many bites we’ve had this year, who they’ve been or how much they’ve offered.
Indeed, have there been any? What price are we currently selling the club for? There have been figures bandied around, but no-one seems to know. Other than a fancy brochure and a metaphorical ‘For Sale’ sign outside the ticket office, what is our owner doing in a practical, constructive and every-day way to sell this club that he so clearly wishes to divorce?
Part of the angst of the Sunderland supporter is not just processing the on-field results and performances - that kind of joyful folly is for City or United fans. Our pain is not just created on the basis of whether or not we’re playing total football with style and panache- that category of frustration - the Arsenal fans can keep with their silly sense of hyperbole and faux outrage.
Sunderland supporters must live with the constant threat of not just a slow footballing death, but the interminable dankness of a lack of knowledge. We do not know the most crucial details of the most basic aspects of the club. We cannot come to terms with failure when we do not know all the reasons why we fail. We cannot find peace in our disappointments when we do not know the root of our future. We can’t be hopeful when we do not know the seed from which our optimism may grow.
Some, if not many, cannot commit our own limited time and funds to an institution whose very fate and destiny, we simply do not know.
The Sunderland supporters are a hardy stock, forged from a genealogy of overworked ship builders and underpaid miners. The hard truth and dealing with its consequences has forged the backbone of the North-Easterner for generations.
Mr. Short, Mr. Bain - we need to know the truth and we need the truth yesterday. Ignorance is not an excuse for failure, but it can kill the hope of the faithful.