Q: What are your thoughts having heard what Stewart Donald had to say on BBC Newcastle last night?
Craig Davies says...
Donald’s appearance on BBC Radio Newcastle will have satisfied both of his key demographics. His supporters will feel uplifted and reassured, while his die hard critics will feel satisfied his passionate honesty is a bogus front, to shift our focus away from what’s really going on. That’s no criticism of his detractors who can unquestionably feel justified in their anxiety due to the fact we are fighting way below par on so many fronts.
I’ve always generally been supportive of Donald but of late I’ve also been suspicious of his motives, dubious of his commitment and have doubted his intentions. He hasn’t exactly been the public force he was, and neither has the club been successful where it really matters - on the pitch. So, consequently he has to absorb our distrust and apprehension and take it on the chin - which in fairness and all credit to him, I felt he did consistently throughout his interview.
He accepted he’d made mistakes, and recognised his role in our current precarious slump. I admired his impassioned defence of his dedication to the club and his vigorous denial of accusations of him being a cheap chancer, trying to flip a quick buck and ravishing the club for every penny he can greedily lay his hands on.
I could feel the hurt in his voice and I enjoyed that it pained him so much - it sounded genuine and authentic, exactly like it should if the accusations are baseless and personal.
I admired his raw honesty over his family commitments that we fans never take into consideration because we’re too partisan, too biased, too obsessed in our discipleship to take it into consideration. Turns out that’s he’s human. He has a family, he’s suffered loss and has responsibilities to his children and elderly parents. We sometimes forget that in our idolatry - I know I certainly do, and we hold people involved at the club to a level of toxic accountability that we’d never be able to adhere to ourselves.
But look, that’s the madness and narrowness of our obsession. It can’t be helped. I felt he spoke well, with passion and humour. He answered most of the questions we likely have and was clear with his intentions and the vision of FPP.
For me he provided some crucial clarity at a time when I was wavering in my support, when I was questioning his leadership and critical of his results.
His interview won’t have pleased everyone in every way but it was a step forward in building bridges and providing open and honest dialogue that doesn’t squeeze into 240 very ambiguous and difficult to nuance characters.
Mark Carrick says...
Having heard a passionate and determined Stewart Donald last night was timely and appropriate. Rumours and hearsay have, for too long, been spun into ‘facts’, putting the owners constantly in a poor light.
Donald’s appearance on the local radio station to explain how he, Charlie and Juan have shouldered the burden of investment, safeguarding the football club in the process, was clearly explained. Further, Donald’s outline of his football plan (play-offs in year 1, promotion in year 2, etc) was clear, as was the plans to rejuvenate an ageing stadium.
Even more than the club, Donald’s interest in the area as a whole, seeking investment into the region as much as building a football club in the city, is to be applauded. It certainly paints the picture of a responsible owner and someone who still believes in his long-term plan for the club.
Donald made reference to fans who want Madrox to leave the club and spoke passionately about how the billionaire investors have clearly seen a strong business plan, something no fan can make claim to having seen, no matter how much misinformation is poured into social media.
This speaks in two ways into the current situation - firstly, fans need to see a positive move by the current owners in securing this partnership and investment and, secondly, we need to find a way of supporting this group of people to achieve the stated ambitions of establishing Sunderland in the higher leagues.
David Holloway says...
I must admit that I enjoy listening to Stewart Donald and I was delighted to hear him tonight. Whilst I totally understand and share people’s frustrations and anger with the current situation, I am not entirely sure what the owners have not delivered from what they promised.
They said on arrival that cuts had to be made, they have been. They said that they weren’t going to nor were they able to bankroll the club’s revival - they have supported it, but only to the extent that it needed.
We failed to get promotion last season in a very disappointing fashion, was that their fault? Is it their fault that certain first teamers are underperforming this season? There’s a lot to be done, particularly in recruitment and the academy, and if we are to take Donald at face value that is what he’s said the new money coming into the club will address.
I heard a bloke on the radio last night who clearly cares, a bloke who is doing his best - a human being who has had to deal with some deep personal challenges.
He still has my support, but - and there is a big but - I think that some of the explanations of the purchase and the new money have been ambiguous and contradictory, and that is being kind. Donald and Methven need to get a grip on that messaging. More clear and concise language to add to the passion, please, and that may temper the legitimate doubts of many supporters.