clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fan Letters: More on the #DonaldOut campaign and Sunderland’s frustrating managerial situation

“I can forgive mistakes, the odd bad signing, a badly handled contract or even a bad managerial appointment. What I can’t forgive though is our owner, when things have got tough has turned his back and went into hiding” says RR reader Lee. Email:!

New Sunderland Owner Stewart Donald Press Conference Photo by Sunderland AFC/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’m writing this with a feeling of sadness the morning after the #donaldout protest started on Twitter.

How on earth did it come to this? How did things get so bad so quick? How can the supporters one minute be drinking with Stewart Donald on the streets of London then a few month later want him nowhere near our club?

There are numerous reasons of course, and each fan will have their own. The sale of Josh Maja, the signing of Will Grigg, the failure to sack Jack Ross sooner, the shocking results of our first team, u23 team and youth team, the takeover that didn’t happen or the appointment of Phil Parkinson. I could go on and there are more.

Donald told us he was a football fan, he came into the club full of positivity and spoke to us with such optimism. He communicated with us regularly (and in quite some detail) via the podcasts and fans appreciated that. Since Donald came to the club things have never been perfect, but fans have been patient as we believed our owner was genuinely trying his best for the club.

Since Parkinson has been appointed however things have turned disastrous. For many of the fans it is genuinely the worst football we have ever witnessed in our lifetimes and in terms of leagues position we are at the lowest point in our proud history.

What does our owner Donald make of it? Who knows because he doesn’t speak to us anymore. No more tweets, no podcasts, no talk ins. Nothing!

I can forgive mistakes, the odd bad signing, a badly handled contract or even a bad managerial appointment. What I can’t forgive though is our owner, when things have got tough has turned his back and went into hiding. He’s meant to be our leader.

Last night I joined thousands of other fans in the #donald out protest.

Stewart Donald, I wanted to believe in you but have can I trust you when you won’t even talk to us?

Lee Walker

Ed’s Note [Gav]: As you say, there are many reasons why it has come to this. For me personally, I feel like important structural issues have been ignored in favoured of using an approach akin to that of a non-league club, or that of a club from the 1980s. Flat cap, sheepskin coat management that simply does not work in 2019.

Donald is surrounded by people he trusts, but these are people simply not qualified to be running a club like Sunderland. He himself is too involved with the footballing side of the club, as shown by his involvement in the signing of Grigg, the sale of Maja and the isolation of young players like Kimpioka because they wouldn’t sign a new contract.

I have written repeatedly over recent weeks that Donald is neglecting the club by failing to run it properly. We need structure. He needs to hand the club off to people qualified to run it. He needs to sack off the likes of Paul Reid, Richard Hill and Neil Fox who have no place here. I and many others have been saying this for a while now, but the fact is that Donald doesn’t believe that these are issues that need to be addressed, and that is wrong.

That aside, I worry about his financial ability to run the club beyond this season. We’ve heard more than once that he’s not got the capital to make us a competitive Championship club, which should be our immediate ambition beyond League One. If he can’t afford to run the club in a matter befitting of its stature then it’s his duty to step aside and sell to someone who can. I’m sad that it has come to this, and I don’t believe Stewart is a bad person, but for the good of the club we need change.

Sunderland v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Parkinson waffling in aftermath of the Bolton game about what a good manager he is - what planet is he on? The man was praising Grigg and now he is dumped on the bench, he has not got a clue. Donald went for the cheap option, the man with the experience. You would not think it - the man is twenty years behind in his tactics.

We need a younger manager, not the same old faces who do the football merry-go-round of managers - the likes of Holloway, Warnock etc. Let’s go for something fresh. All we want is eleven players to give 100% every week and play attractive football, not the sh*te we are watching now.

Mr Donald has ballsed up big style in the running of the club, in recruitment of players and the current manager. I said it ages ago - this club is now Eastleigh, and the way we are going it will be soon. The way he’s handled the American saga is diabolical - the hype around it got fans hopes up again, yet they were shot down.

Mr Donald - go now and take the joke of a manager with you. Sell for a big profit like you were always going to do and laugh at us because we have been shafted again big style.

Mark Wild

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Parkinson is an absolute joke and needs to go. The weight of negativity towards him is like nothing I’ve seen - it wasn’t even this bad under Moyes or Wilkinson. Fans just haven’t accepted him and it’s clear that the massive amount of people who didn’t want him in the first place were right to have their reservations. Such a mess.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report