Dear Roker Report,
We need to talk about the future.
I don’t mean next year but the years after that. Our club stands to lose around £5 million in revenue if/when we get relegated. That may not seem like much in modern football, but it is a huge amount for a club in as dire financial straits as ours.
If - and I stress if - Mr Short manages to sell our club to a person or persons who might not understand the situation the club faces or even worse, are unprepared for the task at hand, that or Mr short won’t find anyone who is smart enough to keep their hands out of their own pockets, then the club will be in a much worse financial position than now. Yes that is possible.
This brings me to the topic of this letter. ADMINISTRATION.
‘Administration is a way to rescue a business and prevent it from going into liquidation (when a company is closed and all their assets are redistributed). This means a club can stay in existence and continues playing’ (googled the definition).
Now this is all well and good but the club is already asset stripping to stay afloat, hence the role of Mr Bain. But what happens if there are no assets left to strip next year? What if we are left paying salaries for Cattermole, Kone and Rodwell? I don’t see how it will be possible for the club to pay off its debts, especially if clubs do come looking for the aforementioned and start the biding off at £1 because that is what clubs will do. We will have to sit by and watch due to our financial position as the other clubs will bend us over and shaft us good and proper. And who could blame them that’s the way of football now.
So what if we can’t pay off our debts? I really can’t see us being like Hartlepool and finding support as our debts will be too high or nobody will want to rescue us. Which again you can’t blame them as this predicament is one of the clubs and the owner’s machinations.
So what then? Do we do an AFC Wimbledon or FC United, get the remainder of the fans to all pitch in and try and get a decent Sunday league side going and build from there? Should we throw caution to the wind and send a delegation of dancing girls, Nissan Qashqai’s and Rodwell stripped and hog tied with an apple in his mouth to China or Dubai and try to grease up some incredulously rich git who again may not give a damn about the club, but may throw money at us? Or even the Swansea route where the fans all chipped in with a couple of quid (or more likely a lot more).
We, as a fan base, need to start preparing our own contingencies and dare I say it, prepare for the worst.
I go to the football to get away from everything else. It’s a chance to have a pint with my dad who has been a Sunderland supporter since the world was still in black and white. It is a chance of thirty seconds of joy of hugging anyone and everyone when the ball hits the back of the net. It’s walking back to the car with a spring in your step thinking this is going be our year. Now I’m not a screaming and shouting supporter bar an away day, I don’t always sing and I don’t always voice my opinions such as this but I write this because those feeling are so far in the past it’s easier to remember family birthdays.
My father turned to me after the Brentford game and said ‘I don’t know if I’m coming next week, I don’t know how much more of this I can take’. That for me was enough. As a son and a supporter that was enough.
I worry for this club.
Ed’s note: Administration is a ‘dirty’ word, isn’t it? I’m not a financial expert and can’t claim to know much about whether we’re at threat of it, but what I do know is that we fans aren’t given enough information on such things and when we do, it’s often put in terms that ordinary fans cannot understand.
Dear Roker Report,
I suspect that many Sunderland supporters would have reacted in the same way as I did to the defeat at Bolton. ‘Enough is enough’. In truth, I have been thinking this for some time, certainly all the way through last season’s Moyes’ misery and ever since this wretched season started. The unprofessional and downright cowardly displays we have seen this season have taken the biscuit. In my view, the current side is far worse than the McMenemy side that took us to the third division 30 years ago.
The problem is - where does this leave us? What does ‘enough is enough’ really mean?
Does it mean we ditch the association with our club and walk away, never to think about it again? Not a chance as far as I am concerned - this club and city have been at the very centre of my existence for over 50 years and it is what I do. There is another level to this - I have no intention of allowing the current group of spineless cowards otherwise known as our ‘players’ to determine my relationship with my club.
No - enough is enough must mean something else. For me, it means I have had enough of accepting this garbage without response. I think that the answer lies in the supporters acting in unison and doing something for ourselves and the current Red and White Army petition provides us with the perfect opportunity to do so with minimal effort.
As I write, around 7,000 have signed the petition urging Ellis Short to sell the club.
I hope that the organisers can see the potential in this. I am no social media expert but friends of mine who know such things tell me that the secret to a mass petition is to strike early and hold the public gaze - make the thing go ‘viral’.
We know that there are over 40,000 supporters out there who have been moved to attend games recently. The first aim should be to get the message to every one of those, then to those who class themselves as fans but who may not go to games, then to every single person in the world who calls themselves red and white. Signing this petition should be the thing to do if you are one of our tribe. How many are out there - who knows?
The thing is - this is for us. Stuff the bloody players and anyone else who is not committed to our club. Signing that petition is about more than urging Ellis Short to sell - it is a reminder from every one of us that we are still here and every added signature will reduce the doom and gloom that surrounds the club and make us feel better about ourselves and the situation. Let’s help ourselves and remind the world why our club is so special.
Organisers - set your sights high.
Sign the petition!
Ed’s note: All I can say is hear hear! Click here to sign the petition.