If you read BBC Radio Solent’s Ian Wilder’s assessment of Stewart Donald which was featured earlier today here on RokerReport.com, you should be doing cartwheels down Millennium Way.
The guy is - apparently - transparent, honest, engaging, communicative and trustworthy. Adjectives not many would attribute to his outgoing much-despised predecessor, Ellis Short.
Mr Donald is heading up a group of what’s been termed “football investors”. We don’t know of the membership of this bunch, or how much money it has at its disposal; and it’s easy to be mistrustful of such a group swooping down on our beloved club.
Many details have yet to emerge. But sacking a respected manager, who few blamed for the club’s predicament, seemed an odd way to introduce yourself to the club and its fans.
Mr Donald’s previous experience at non-league Eastleigh FC seems to have gone well and he has left the club in a better position than when he found it. How many owners can (honestly) say that?
But to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen (former Democratic vice-presidential candidate in a debate with Dan Quayle when Quayle compared himself to John F Kennedy), Eastleigh is no Sunderland.
The initial reaction to the news was one of relief.
“Thank goodness we’re rid of Short” I thought. But the man has rid the club of all debt, which makes him less of a hate figure than he has been for quite some time.
This leaves the new regime free to address matters on the pitch without having to plough all income into financing the debt. Why he couldn’t do this while he was at the club is one of many questions about Short’s ill-fated tenure as Sunderland owner.
Whilst Chris Coleman had his critics there is little doubt that, had he been able to have the freedom of most managers, he would have been an asset to the club. He’ll certainly have little difficulty in finding work. The fact he was in such demand was one of many worries for the summer ahead.
While the takeover is undoubted good news, many questions still remain. The most pressing being: Who will the new manager be? Who are the other members of the consortia? How much money do they have and what’s in it for them?
One thing’s certain, the news hasn’t have come a moment too soon. So it’s a hesitant thumbs up from us on the news. We will watch this new era unfold with interest.
As Chris Coleman said when he was appointed manager, whoever can turn this club around will be a legend on Wearside.