Sunderland Executive Director Charlie Methven has commented on speculation surrounding the dismissal of Jack Ross, the potential ‘takeover’ by the MSD partners and more in a conversation with Luke Edwards.
Ross was let go by Sunderland after 18 months in charge on Tuesday afternoon, three hours before the team were due to take to the field against Grimsby Town in the EFL Trophy.
That led to suggestions by some in the fanbase and media that the decision was taken to alleviate pressure and attention on the club regarding the ongoing ownership situation, something which Stewart Donald attempted to clarify in an appearance on the radio on Tuesday evening, and something that Methven has spoken on today also.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Methven said:
There have been a lot of rumours and things said that are simply not true. The talks to attract investor - we have never said it is a takeover - remains ongoing. Those discussion have been going on for some time but we must stress, this is about planning for the future in the Championship, but we need to get promoted first. We need to get out of League One for the next part of the project to begin.
Even if the new money came in now, we wouldn’t be able to do much with it in League One because of Financial Fairplay rules, but we have always said, we want to plan ahead. There is no great urgency, but I understand some people are frustrated by that. But we cannot force people to part with their money and, as things stand, they may or may not be investing in the club.
But that has had no impact whatsoever on the decision to sack the manager. We always planned to look at the how things were going after the first quarter of the season and after 11 games, with three quarters of the season remaining, we did not feel things were going as well as they should be.
Some people felt we removed Ross too soon, others think we took too long, we will only know whether it was the right decision in the fulness of time, but our sole aim is to get promoted this season. We are currently working through a fairly conventional process of identifying the right person to get the team out of League One.