New Sunderland owners Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven have been ruthless so far in their decision making since arriving at the club, and alongside their announcement of a new manager they revealed that a series of off-field decisions have been made in order to restructure the club going forward.
The biggest changes have been at boardroom level of course, with Ellis Short and Martin Bain departing this week, but other huge alterations have been made and the departures of Neale McDermott, Jimmy Sinclair, the Head of Marketing and the Director of Change have now been officially acknowledged by the club.
In their place arrives Tony Davison, a life-long Sunderland supporter who has worked for over two decades in the game and, at one time, used to be Samson the Cat!
The statement on the club website read:
Moving forward the club will be led by a small team of senior executives, who have proactively taken salary cuts as a clear demonstration of their desire to be part of the new owners’ vision for the future.
That team will be led by Tony Davison, who joins from Tottenham Hotspur in the newly-created position of Managing Director. Tony, a life-long Sunderland fan, brings with him a wealth of commercial and marketing acumen from over 20 years of working in football, and will drive forward the club’s overall commercial operation, along with using his regional knowledge to re-engage with supporters and the local business community.
On the decision to shuffle things around behind the scenes, Executive director and co-owner Charlie Methven said:
Having worked with Tony in a variety of roles over the last decade, Stewart and I knew from the start that he was the man with the experience, desire and contacts to implement the vision that we have for the re-engagement of Sunderland AFC with its fans and the local business community.
Tony is passionate about Sunderland and the fact that he has left a senior executive position at a top Premier League club and taken a lower wage to come back to his home city, demonstrates what his values are.
As we move forward, it is important to place on record our thanks to those people leaving the club. Decisions of this nature are never taken lightly.
However, when we arrived it was abundantly clear that the infrastructure and team that we inherited was not aligned with our clear goal of ensuring each and every opportunity at this football club is realised and maximised.
This is not a reflection on the specific individuals who have departed, who leave with our sincere good wishes, but on the inflated and therefore inefficient infrastructure that developed over a number of years and the resultant culture which grew around it.
Fundamentally, every pound that supporters put into their football club has to influence positively its future success. Fans need to see their hard-earned money being used wisely and in the right areas and to do that we have a responsibility to be lean, productive and focussed. Ensuring that we are ready for the challenge of League One is our priority and the club’s operation will reflect that aim.
Stewart and I have moved quickly and decisively to pull together a tight, driven group of people to serve the interests of Sunderland and its fans. We are excited by the opportunity to get this club back to what it should be, and the hard work starts now.
Onwards and upwards!