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Does involvement of PR expert with Sunderland’s potential new owners suggest shift in approach?

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Charlie Methven: PR guru, and potential board member of Stewart Donald’s Sunderland AFC - what does his connection with the Madrox consortium suggest about the future of our club?

ChronicleLive

Dragon provides intelligent advice, strategic communications and commercial guidance. Our clients include leading financial and professional services firms, private individuals, luxury goods brands, real estate and property companies. We deliver brand positioning, communication, capital investment networking, crisis and reputation management, litigation support and group bondholder actions.

Stewart Donald’s friend and business partner, Charlie Methven, accompanied him to the Lads’ victory over Wolves at the weekend as the former Eastleigh owner’s proposed takeover of the club edges closer to completion.

Methven is a ‘top international Public Relations expert, ranked by Spear’s Wealth in November 2017 as “outstanding in field” and amongst the top 10 reputation managers in London,’ according to his own PR firm, Dragon, where he is the chairman and founding partner.

Methven’s firm offers a range of services including: strategic planning, asset raising, litigation support, brand development, events and crisis management. Subsequently, Methven’s involvement brings an intriguing individual to the top table of our long-suffering club.

Methven will likely bring a unique outlook on how a football club should be governed, and could potentially be an effective asset moving forward.

His relationship with “personal clients include sovereign nations, high net worth individuals, asset managers and luxury brands. Educated at Eton College and Oxford University, away from work his interests include football, horseracing and golf.”

Methven clearly has a far extending reach into the world of business, and if our club it to progress and grow again, a man like him could be incredibly valuable. With such a wide-ranging series of networks, Methven will likely play a large role in the club’s governance and direction. Hopefully his contacts are able to help grow our battered club.

There is always a need to be cautious, however, and fans should certainly keep their wits about them moving forward. This new takeover will hopefully be just what the cub has needed in recent years, yet we as fans should remain cautious in our hopes and expectations. Football is a results game, and although Methven brings a whole new series of contacts to our club: a new manager, squad, and wins are what’s needed in order to revive us.

General Views Of The London Skyline
Methven’s connections fan out from the country’s capital.
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

That being said, having someone at the club so heavily involved in the world of PR can also be a positive thing moving forward. Various blunders have been made in recent years leaving Sunderland sorely diminished in terms of esteem and even honour.

Serious lapses in judgement made by the club have done nothing to help relations between the club and its fans. The entire Adam Johnson incident, redundancies with a trip to the Big Apple, and a babbling drunken pro - Sunderland have had their fair share of damaging PR situations in recent years.

If, moving forward, we are able to be far more rudent in our approaches to PR, fans will undoubtedly begin to trust the club once again - something Stewart Donald will likely prioritise.

Having a man so experienced in the world of PR working with us in such an important capacity will hopefully help mend a seriously damaged discord between club and supporters. Stewart Donald will need to find a way in which he can quickly repair the fracture, and Methven’s input will almost certainly be needed.

Ultimately, whilst Stewart Donald looks to be assembling an interesting group of advisors in his purchase of Sunderland AFC, Charlie Methven looks to be one of the more intriguing names.

A man with serious connections, Methven’s adulation of Margaret Thatcher might even be overlooked should he help the club back on its way to the top; though many fans will remain sceptical of a man seemingly so firmly entrenched in what many would label, the old boys’ network.

Ultimately, Methven’s involvement signals a fresh attempt from Stewart Donald in assembling a boardroom capable of reinventing Sunderland as a side capable of finding its feet and progressing once more - and the majority of fans will most definitely welcome such a change.

Moving forward fans will watch on with a keen eye as Donald and Methven look to seal their purchase of the club, before embarking upon a journey with the Mackem faithful right behind them. They will of course receive unwaivering support from the get-go, and as long as they continuously look to put Sunderland’s best interests first, that fanatical fervor will remain.