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FAN LETTERS: Clearing up queries on Sunderland’s finances, & how Philadelphians are like Mackems

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Roker Report reader Gerard has worries about Sunderland’s’s finances and Stewart Donald’s ability to sustain the club. Got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk - we’ll include your message in a future edition!

Fan Letters Danny Roberts | Roker Report

Dear Roker Report,

I am sorry to bring negativity to the current enthusiastic mood among supporters, but unless l am reading things wrong the club is still sailing in precarious waters. To say the club is debt free and then announce that there are charges of £25-60m against fixed assets (the AOL and parachute payments) is totally inaccurate. SBC, whoever they are, will collect that debt regardless.

It looks to me as though the new owners have purchased the club by underwriting Ellis Short’s debt to SBC and that in turn is the purchase price for the club. It is also extremely worrying when the owner can not give an accurate figure on the charges and as l alluded to previously the variances between the lower figure and the potential highest figure is enormous. While realising that all football clubs have debts and charges against them the well financed have the charges underwritten by their owners. The much maligned Mike Ashley at Newcastle has provided them with an interest free loan for the last ten years (yet they are still not happy).

The fact that our owners are using assets they have purchased on a pay later basis is of great concern.

However despite painting a bleak picture l would like to end on a more optimistic note.

No one goes into or buys a business thinking they are not going to make money. Hopefully they can achieve that by improving the club both on and off the pitch which they seem to be doing and then when the investment is needed to move forward they can attract better resourced investors.

Gerard Hiscock

Ed’s Note [TA]: It’s always good to be cautious about things, but I think I can clear this up somewhat.

Basically, some of these charges weren’t understood fully when purchasing the club, but Donald is certain that he can pay them - even despite the fact that he is said to be currently negotiating them with Short. Subsequently, these new charges could potentially be a lot less than £20 million if he wins, and worst case he pays a debt that the club already owed anyway. Sartori is an emergency measure, but Donald is adamant he doesn’t need him.

Re: the use of the Academy of Light and Parachute Payments as security - that’s only an issue if you don’t pay you debts on time. Donald, as per the EFL fit and proper persons test, has the money to buy and fund the club in its current state for at least two years.

He has the money to finance the club and the money HE now owes to Ellis Short after buying the club. That is a fact. Ultimately, there’s always risks, but unless Donald’s money disappears, this isn’t a major concern.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

My dad was born in Sunderland and moved to Philadelphia at a young age with his family, returning to Sunderland every summer to visit his aunts, uncles and cousins. Just like my father, I am a die hard Sunderland fan as well a die hard Eagles fan.

I read the article that John has sent to you guys and cannot agree more with everything he has said. I am constantly comparing Sunderland fans and Eagles fans. So much passion from both fan bases and both teams mean everything to their respective cities. Both cities live and breath football even though the word football means two completely different things in each country.

Nick Foles will forever be a hero to Eagles fans everywhere and Sunderland will soon get theirs. Sunderland are going through a rough patch right now and I am confident in the new manager and his staff that we will be back stronger than ever.

Here, in Philly, we also have a saying of “Trust the Process”, and this is directed towards our basketball team, the 76ers, also known by their nickname the “Sixers.” During a time period where the Sixers were struggling we put our trust into our youngsters and now we have a bright future ahead of us.

Like the Sixers, Sunderland have a bright future ahead of them with the likes of Gooch, Maja, Honeyman and Robson, just to name a few. Trust in our youngsters and the team JR puts on the field every time there is a game.

Sorry for my long email and rant but, there’s nothing more I love than the City of Sunderland and Philadelphia and seeing an article comparing the two just made my day.

I’ll be in Sunderland two weeks from today and hoping that I can make it to the game on the 19th.

Thank you for your time, HA’WAY THE LADS AND GO BIRDS!

Phil Martin

Ed’s Note [JN]: Nice one Phil. Head us up another email and we can put you two in touch, can’t imagine there are many other massive lads fans over in Philly. I particularly enjoy the trust the process idea. Ross himself has mentioned in numerous interviews (both at Sunlun and St. Mirren) that term - the process.

He believes that work off the pitch, covering every possible angle - can only benefit the work on the pitch, To this end, he - like Gareth Southgate - places much emphases upon the psychological nature of the game and has even suggested at Hartlepool after we went 1-0 down so early that he “saw a few heads drop and old mistakes and feelings creep in”. To remove a losing mentality is very difficult, but Ross’ early signs are promising.

If he does trust his process, I think he can turn us around on the pitch.