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Positive news or smokescreen: What are YOUR thoughts on Sunderland’s boardroom appointments?

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What are your immediate thoughts on the appointments made to Sunderland’s board? Some are saying that it’s a small positive having Sunderland fans involved at boardroom level, whilst others have said it’s nothing than a smokescreen/PR exercise. What’s your take?

Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Sean Brown says...

It’s an interesting move this. I can see why people may view it as a distraction; a way to boost morale during a break from games, and to at least look to be doing something (in the absence of granting a lot of fans wishes by sacking Phil Parkinson).

I’m hoping it’s the beginning of something at the club that moves towards getting more people involved who care about the direction we should be heading, not for the sake of their own careers or for financial gain, but because they’re dedicated lifelong Sunderland fans themselves.

How much of an impact will David and Tom have exactly? I don’t know. I do know that both men are absolute gents, and they’re passionate about Sunderland. David has some strong opinions, and experience dealing with management, recruitment, player sales etc by way of his tenure as director at Oxford United, however by his own admission he’s picked these things up as he’s gone along with varying degrees of success, and he’s well aware of the difference in expectation and sheer size when it comes to comparing the two clubs.

Essentially both know what they want to see at the SoL, they also have insight and many contacts that are valuable and not to be scoffed at. Both are intelligent, pragmatic, hard-working, loyal and thoughtful, and I’d like to think they wouldn’t hesitate to point out exactly where they believe we’ve gone wrong, and indeed how best to remedy it for all concerned.

They will provide a much-needed voice for the fans in the boardroom, and should hopefully have some success guiding the hand and mind of Stewart Donald these coming months.

Is this a solution to all our problems? Of course not. Do we need to be looking at a Director of Football or the like to provide that much-needed stability; so that if a manager does fail, the club continues with its “vision and direction” and that figure can perhaps manage to prevent some of the usual side effects of such upheaval as and when it inevitably occurs?

I’d say so, personally.

All in all I can’t see this damaging Sunderland in any way, I see no negatives to their involvement and I’d like to wish them both good luck in their roles. It’s good to see such MLF’S around the club... The more the merrier.


David Holloway says...

The appointments to the board are welcome and needed. Following the resignations of Charlie Methven and Tony Davidson, and the seemingly continued absence of Juan Sartori, the governance arrangements of the club have been distinctly thin.

Bringing someone with the exposure of David Jones to the board can only be seen as a positive. Jones is a media man who will understand messaging and profile. He will, through his day job know experienced and high profile people within the game - something that I feel Stewart Donald doesn't have.

Hopefully Jones can draw on these contacts for advice and extend the clubs network. He is also a popular figure and a genuine fan. What is not to like?

The appointment of Tom Sloanes raises more questions. He is clearly a passionate fan and has been involved in and around the club for some time. I expect that he has been brought in to advise on commericial contracts and business development, to fill a gap after the departure of Davidson. We will have to wait and see what the results of that will bring.

Given that these two have high profile and demanding day jobs and given that their position at the club will be non-executive, then this can only be seen as the start of the process of putting an executive structure in place to properly run the club from a commercial and football viewpoint. These appointments are positive, but it’s what happens now that will be of greater interest to me.


Craig Davies says...

Theodore Roosevelt once said: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” Donald’s tenure has been littered with decisions that haven’t worked but few could accuse him of doing nothing - which in a weird kind of way is some form of positive at least.

This is another example. He’s doing something. He’s trying something. He’s not just standing still, although ardent Donald haters will firmly believe he’s way better off doing nothing than he is at forging ahead blindly with one calamitous decision after another.

But after weeks of moaning, self-flagellation and feeling like my footballing heart is flatlining beyond repair I’m going to err on the side of optimism for two main reasons.

Firstly I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m bored of my own depressed whining and fed-up of fuelling my own negativity week after week to the point of it becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy where I’m almost relieved to be disappointed.

Secondly we need to change something and I’m not talking about new speakers at the stadium or a lift at the training complex. We desperately lack voices of reason and leadership. We largely seem void of cohesion and common sense and adding two interesting, confident and talented individuals to the board must be a positive, right?

Jones is a media savvy, marketers dream with contacts aplenty and with significant experience of being a crucial board member at a league one club. He has a credible and successful media prescience that’s polished and respected. His advice on media messaging will be slicker and more professional, and his recruitment bears the hallmark logic and planning - which are two words I haven’t associated with Sunderland in recent months.

Tom Sloanes is a Sunderland fan first and foremost and that in itself is a plus for me. A wily businessman with vast experience in the world of marketing, strategy, finance and sports information. His corporate contact list is bursting at the seams. He understands business and loves the lads. I can’t find a fault in his new role on the board.

Yes! I’m not moaning!

Are the additions of Jones and Sloanes the answer to our prayers? Of course not. We need a new chief scout, an experienced director of football and a dynamic chief executive to name but a few. But it’s a starting point and a very satisfactory one. However, we must continue to build and improve, otherwise they won’t make the lasting impact I’m sure they want to - an impact we most definitely need.