Donald celebrates EFL approval
As we exclusively revealed yesterday afternoon, Stewart Donald’s takeover of Sunderland has been granted the approval of the EFL - a necessary step ahead of the takeover being finalised.
With the takeover now on the verge of completion, Donald took to Twitter to celebrate a great day for Sunderland with the takeover being all but confirmed. He also celebrated personally after a grubby and unsurprisingly incorrect story in a national tabloid was removed.
Although celebrating yesterday’s successes, Donald was quick to caution that the hard work on turning Sunderland around starts now - starting on Monday when he arrives at the Stadium of Light.
Methven talks Sunderland plans
Stewart Donald is not the only member of his takeover bid to be talking as another member of the prospective stakeholders, Charlie Methven, has been talking about the long-term plan for Sunderland.
Speaking to bloomberg.com, Methven said the consortium’s plan for Sunderland is to make the club fully sustainable once they go through an initial period of investment and restructuring.
That restructuring may well include the arrival of Tony Davison from Tottenham Hotspur’s Commercial Department - Davison spent nine years at Sunderland between 1996 and 2005 in the Marketing Department - as well as a spell as Samson the Cat. Davison also spent time as the Head of Sales at Wembley Stadium, was a Commercial Director at Oxford United, and at one point was a Partner at Charlie Methven’s Dragon Advisory.
The restructuring will not just include behind the scenes, with Methven fully aware of the work needed on the pitch - particularly when it comes to shifting players who are earning far too much:
There’s a major task ahead with moving players on who are at inappropriate wages for the level we’re now at.
Now we are a League One team, Methven says the club have to face up to the fact that we’ll be treated as a cup final for most teams and that matching the effort of the opposition will be an absolute requirement:
You need to be realistic about who you are. Sunderland faces the fact that they will be the game of the season for most teams and they need to be humble enough to match the effort of the opposition if they want to succeed.
Papy misses out
Senegal have named their 23-man squad for upcoming World Cup in Russia, and Sunderland defender Papy Djilobodji has not made the cut.
Djilobodji, who has spent the season out on loan at Ligue 1 side Dijon, had been named in an initial 35-man squad ahead of the official announcement, but was left out of the final squad despite starting Senegal’s last two friendlies.
Although that may be a blow to Sunderland - with a good World Cup showing potentially raising his value - the fact he’s not at the tournament, or with the squad during their preparations, may mean he will be sold sooner rather than later.
Former loan duo called up for Toulon Tournament
Young loan duo Ovie Ejaria and Jake Clarke-Salter, who joined the club on loan during the January transfer window, have been called up by England for the under-21 squad for the forthcoming Toulon Tournament.
England will be looking to retain the trophy that they won in 2016 and 2017 - the 2016 edition had starring roles for Sunderland duo Duncan Watmore and Jordan Pickford, while Elliot Embleton shone for England in 2017.
England kick off the tournament a week today when they play China in Aubagne’s Stade de Lattre.
O’Donovan receives lengthy ban
Former Sunderland striker Roy O’Donovan has been given a hefty 10-match ban by the FFA after a ridiculous challenge on Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas during the A-League grand final.
O’Donovan claimed he had blurred vision from an earlier challenge and that he didn’t even realise that he had struck the goalkeeper during the incident - a claim which was thrown out by the FFA who said his attempted challenge was a “hail mary attempt” with the game drawing to a close and O’Donovan’s Newcastle Jets team desperate for an equaliser.
The 10-match ban is the second longest in A-League history, with only Danny Vukovic’s one-year ban for striking a referee being longer. O’Donovan had previously been banned for eight weeks in 2015/16 for a headbutt on an opposing player.