Since Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven acquired Sunderland from Ellis Short, it’s fair to say that business has moved forward at an impressive pace.
After a swift backroom clear-out, Jack Ross was brought in as the club’s new Manager with a team of coaches following him to Wearside, whilst Tony Davison has returned to the club he’s supported since childhood - after an impressive spell working behind the scenes at Tottenham Hotspur - as Managing Director.
Furthermore, rumours continue to circulate that Tony Coton is set to return to his former side in a senior scouting role, as Juan Sartori undergoes the fit and proper persons test in order to become another minority shareholder of our rapidly evolving club. All of this as the we announced the retained list for the coming season that sees several first-team players move on to pastures new.
Because this week - and the next several weeks - are more than likely set to be just as hectic.
Jack Ross has already started his reign on Wearside in bold fashion. By allowing captain and club stalwart John O’Shea to leave, an interesting precedent has been set. O’Shea has been a great servant; he’s given his all for the shirt, and is universally adulated by those associated to the club. However, Ross and the new owners have opted against keeping the experienced defender on the books - and that spells fundamental change.
It would have been a safe move to keep O’Shea for at least another year, but instead the club have decided to try something different. Make no mistake, there will be others leaving, too. Fabio Borini and Jeremain Lens both officially depart on July 1st - for AC Milan and Besiktas respectively. Others will also follow. Didier Ndong, Wahbi Khazri, and Lamine Kone are but three first-team players likely set to leave the club; they won’t be the last.
Of course, we still need to sell in order to minimize a massively-inflated wage bill, and also so that we can further enhance our funds for a gigantic summer rebuild; however, it’s also about fostering a new spirit within Sunderland.
Something bold is required in order to vanquish the losing attitude that has lingered within Sunderland for far too long - and that is something the new hierarchy seem eager to address both on and off the pitch.
New signings will be key to finding success both in the short-term and indeed the long-term, and starting this week it wouldn’t be surprising to see the club make strides towards forging a brighter future.
Stewart Donald through to Jack Ross and his support staff have had a couple of weeks to properly assess the lay of the land - now they will be eager to get the ball rolling. Whilst allowing John O’Shea to leave the club was a bold move, bringing in fresh faces will be a far more important task - and one they will be desperate to begin.
Sunderland AFC are on a mission to reinvent themselves after years of hurt, and if the last several weeks are anything to go by we’re in for a remarkably busy summer of ins and outs. Ultimately, though, this is a much needed change, and will hopefully be one that sees the club begin to make strides in the right direction.
This is a summer where patience and optimism will be required in equal measures. There likely won’t be any blockbuster signings, yet the players brought into the club will need our backing as Jack Ross, with the support of Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven, looks to start something special at Sunderland.
Both owners have mentioned the need to buy players that aren’t currently at the top of their game so that we can develop their undervalued talent and find success in doing so. Fans will need to buy into this new ‘Dortmund style’ approach to running the club - though it may take some getting used to for some.
One thing that’s undeniable, however, is just how exciting it currently feels to be a Sunderland fan. Gone are the clouds of despair that lingered over the club for what felt like an eternity, and in their place are cautious rays of hope as fans feel their love for the club rekindled by the new hierarchy’s fresh approach to governance.
It’s onward and upward!