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Roker Roundup: Charlie Methven on Sunderland’s finances & how the club nearly went bust in 2018

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Sunderland Executive Director Charlie Methven has spoken about Sunderland’s finances, how we almost went bust last season and how the new owners won’t gamble on the club’s future with money again.

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Methven on fanbase

Ahead of the weekend clash against Oxford United, Oxford fan and Sunderland executive director Charlie Methven gave an interview with Salut! Sunderland about the weekend’s match and his thoughts on his experiences with the club so far.

During the interview, Methven was asked about how he had found the club, the fans and the city so far:

Had a lovely, lovely time and have already met people who I know will be friends for life.

It is such an underrated city and area. People elsewhere are gobsmacked when I show them pictures of Roker Beach, of Ashbrooke, of Cleadon, and of Sunniside. I have also found that North-easterners are generally dissimilar to Yorkshiremen and Lancastrians, in being more light-hearted, fun-loving etc – almost a bit of Irish about you - I can see why Niall Quinn fitted in so well.

As the exec director, I do sometimes wish that there was a bit more understanding of basic business principles amongst the fanbase – I know that it is similar at Newcastle, this sort of ‘f**k it, hoy cash all over everything and then stick your hands over your eyes and hope the club doesn’t go bust’.

It so nearly did go bust last year, and I do find it wearying having to explain, time after time after time, that we will not endanger the club again, however much the club’s fans might want us to. A classic email from one fan I know recently: “I know we need to balance our books but can’t we just go and out and spend £6 million on Grigg and Kieffer Moore and offer Josh Maja £20k a week. That would sort it!!”

But that is a very minor gripe and, as I say, common to other clubs in the North East. Overall, I have had a fantastic time and people have been very welcoming to me and my family.

You can read the full interview with Charlie Methven on salutsunderland.com.


Winnall keen to fight for first team place

Sunderland were linked with a late loan swoop for Sheffield Wednesday striker Sam Winnall on transfer deadline day before Will Grigg completed his League One record transfer to the club.

According to the Owls new boss and former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, Winnall rejected enquiries to stay and fight for a place at Hillsborough:

There were one or two enquiries about Sam but, to be fair to him, he wanted to stay and prove himself to ourselves, that was his response and that is fine by me. I have no problem with that.

He is working extremely hard in training. He needs a few games, of course, but he is looking good again.

He has had a tough time with injuries. He had an awful knee injury. Hopefully his injuries are behind him now.

Manchester United v Derby County - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Norwich sporting director on Sunderland

Norwich City are flying this season in the Championship under the guidance of former Borussia Dortmund coach Daniel Farke, sitting top of the table after 30 games.

Their sporting director Stuart Webber has been talking about the turnaround in fortunes at the Canaries and says you just have to look at Sunderland’s recent history to see exactly what you should not do as a football club:

You probably watched the Sunderland documentary on Netflix. When you watch that, it’s no surprise that they suffered a double relegation, it really isn’t. They put all their faith in one man, the manager, and as soon as it went wrong, said, ‘it must be his fault’.

Why not look a bit deeper? Maybe that group of players wasn’t good enough, maybe the culture wasn’t right, maybe the head coach needed some support. Instead, you put him on a pedestal and said, ‘go and sort this out will you?’

Ah, brilliant - on my own, with 20 departments and 25 players, half of whom are overpaid and don’t want to be here and don’t care.

That’s where the Sporting Director comes in and that model is really ingrained in Germany, which helps their coaches a lot. As a Sporting Director, you need owners who allow you to do your work.

In my last two jobs I’ve worked for two of the best owners around. They let you get on with it, so long as you keep them up to date with what you’re doing.

I look at some of my friends in the game who have owners who interfere and overrule them and think ‘how can you do your job?’


Nelson hoping to kick on

Academy product Andrew Nelson is already making a name for himself in the Scottish Premiership with Dundee since the joined the club from Sunderland during the January transfer window.

The 21-year-old has scored three goals in three SPL games - including two well taken goals against Kilmarnock in midweek - and he says he is hoping for his career to be kickstarted now he is in first team contention:

As long as I am scoring, I am going to be happy.

I have had a bit of a struggle this season with injury, so to have that scoring feeling again is something I will never be able to match with anything in my life.

As long as I am doing that I am going to be very happy.

If I am here, I want to be playing, I want to be on the team-sheet, playing week in, week out.

That’s why I play football, I want to be playing games, and doing what I love. So why wouldn’t I put myself forward and say I am here, get me on the teamsheet?

I have only had little loans spells previously, a small taste of football, but nothing to this point now where I have kickstarted my career. This is a big step, but I’m here to do as well as I can.

SNS Group

Mannone heads Stateside

Former Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has been out of contention at Reading since the appointment of Portuguese manager Jose Gomes and was even told to train away from the first team squad.

The transfer window in England may be closed but Mannone looks set to join a new club with a loan move to MLS side Minnesota United close.

The 30-year-old took to Instagram to document his new adventure in America:

Sunderland v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images