It’s been a mental week so far for Sunderland, and if the first two days are anything to go by then the remaining five could be just as intense.
Monday saw Simon Bird break the news that Ellis Short has allegedly slapped a £50million price tag on the club despite conflicting reports from both Short and Martin Bain across the course of the season. Will he? Won’t he? Who knows at this point, because much like anything that comes forth from the top of the hierarchy the details and intentions are about as clear as mud.
Ultimately, however, I’m sure most will agree that Short selling to a suitable party is the best outcome for all connected with the club, because as Coleman recently noted: “Until we have a new owner with new ideas, we are where we are.” And for those wondering where that is, it’s rock bottom of the Championship with a snowman’s chance in hell of survival.
Tuesday then saw independent supporters’ organisation Red & White Army come forth with an open letter and petition urging Ellis Short to expedite any potential sale whilst simultaneously offering clarification on our current situation:
We call upon Sunderland AFC supporters far and wide to sign our petition and tell the world what is happening to our football club. In our petition:
- We demand that Ellis Short makes every endeavour to find a reputable buyer for the football club he no longer wants. Produce a business case for potential buyers, and treat SAFC with the same respect that a successful businessman would a going concern.
- We request that if Ellis Short cannot find a reputable buyer himself, employ someone to do it for him.
- In the meantime, we ask for transparency, honesty and regular communication between the owner and supporters.
Then, just to cap things off on Tuesday evening, Coleman’s side then went and lost away to Bolton. The horrid result all but confirms our impending relegation into the murky waters of League One with nothing but a miracle seemingly enough to reverse our pathetic slide.
What a thoroughly bizarre week.
If truth be told, these troubles have been boiling away for a while now, bubbling menacingly below the surface waiting to rear their ugly heads of discontent. I don’t want us to be relegated, I don’t think anybody does, but looking at the league table right now it’s hard to see how we escape from this mess - one long in the making.
Fans simply realise that they want their voices to be heard by those around them. They don’t want to sit idly by as our beloved club succumbs to a second relegation. They want to put up some kind of a fight - however futile that may seem to some.
But it’s not just about going down making a noise, though. Because, despite the assertion that Short wants to sell, if he doesn’t find a suitable buyer then we’re looking at serious issues facing our club.
I’ve written multiple articles on Ellis Short over the least couple of years, and I’ve even had a message passed to me from the shadowy owner (it wasn’t very nice). I suggested he was ready to give up on funding the club whilst we were in the Prem; I argued he needed to become a focal figure if we wanted to find security ahead of relegation into the Championship; I speculated as to what could be done in order to help stabilise the club in the wake of relegation to the Championship, and I even implored the owner to back the new manager after Grayson’s dismissal amongst other.
I don’t expect Short to read and act upon my word. I don’t see myself as some great footballing prophet; these were merely simple observations many fans made. They were basic concepts, yet the Short seemingly distanced himself from any level of involvement whatsoever, and in turn, now we face relegation again - except this relegation could be even more disastrous than the last.
Relegation with our levels of debt, exorbitant running costs and lofty wage bill could potentially be disastrous. I’ve seen people argue that Sunderland as a League One side would be an attractive proposition, and some might be interested. Yet they too would likely enforce a strict regime of cost-cutting that probably wouldn’t yield immediate success. Would anyone seriously be interested in buying a club with so much debt and with so little in the way of stability? Perhaps, but the current situation, levels of debt, and asking price are all likely too much to attract legitimate interest.
Ellis Short, and to an extent Martin Bain, has overseen the collapse of a once magnificent institution that looked to be a solid platform for future success. Unfortunately, absolute mismanagement has rendered us weak and unable to reverse our woeful slide down the leagues.
Last night’s loss felt like a death knell, and something has to change.
Can we the fans elicit change? Perhaps not. Should we sit idly by as our club sinks once more? Absolutely not. Relegation to League One would be beyond disastrous, and there is no certainty that we would be able to bounce back from such a cataclysmic event. We need to act and we need to try our utmost to inspire some kind of positive change - whatever that may be.
Pressuring Ellis Short into action is the first step required in order to remedy our woes. Compelling him to find a way to make a good sale is desperately required if we are to flourish once more. Fans need to ensure that Short and Bain comprehend the fact that we won’t sit by and accept the simply awful tenure of these men.
We want positive change, and we’re at the stage whereby we’ll do everything we can to find it. It’s not just our Championship status at stake here, it’s our very future. Get involved.