Dear Roker Report,
I know the Mail article has been covered, and that Donald will rightly get the chance to reply in full on the Podcast. I just want to get in touch to voice my frustrations with the media in general.
I can’t be the only one to have noticed the disrespectful way in which many articles refer to our owners? Donald has been a very successful businessman. His exact individual net worth is none of our business as long as he can afford to run the club, but I’m sick of articles effectively implying that he’s a pauper.
For a man who has done so well for himself and his family it must be extremely frustrating to constantly have to read stuff like that.
Then there’s Methven, who I think has been great for the club, and all they seem to bring up is his dress sense, or the fact he’s “posh” - no one cares.
Commenting on their ownership is fine, I’d never advocate silencing any form of criticism, but can they not at least be reasoned and respectful when doing it?
For me, the owners have earned our respect, not just for the job they’ve done thus far in terms of turning the club around but also because of their engagement with the fans. It hasn’t all just been PR and bluster, many times they’ve gone over and above what you’d expect to genuinely help out and support our fans.
Some journalists seem to think this is an episode of Scooby Doo, they can’t possibly be decent blokes (who, god forbid, also hope to make money at the end of the venture), they all seem to be assuming there’s some mask to pull off and expose them and they’ll keep targeting them until they feel they’ve got something to damage them with.
I sincerely hope that, having put up with all the bullshit, they are able to enjoy the Wembley trip - they deserve it and let’s hope it has the result we all crave.
The majority of the fans remain right behind them and won’t be swayed by gutter journalism. I’m sure you’ll ask Donald the key questions after the play off final, I’m sure he’ll respond in an open and transparent manner as always and, whilst rightly probing, I’m glad that you can be counted on to do it in a respectful manner.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Thanks Ewan, I think you’ve absolutely nailed it there and speak for most reasonable folk who read that Daily Mail piece and realised it wasn’t worth the paper (or screen?) it was written on.
Regarding the Podcast, we’re actually planning to try something different with the upcoming show on Tuesday and we’ll be looking to not only present questions to Stewart as they were submitted to us by readers, but to also have more than one person hosting the show. Hopefully it’ll come off in the way we’ve envisaged - we ultimately just want Stewart to be able to provide answers for absolutely every topic that Sunderland supporters want and need to hear answers to.
Re: Stewart’s personal wealth, I always find it interesting whenever we read about it as he’s been very clear on multiple occasions that nobody but him knows what he’s worth, not even the club. All he’s ever admitted is that to buy the club he had to provide the FA with a proof of funds, which was to the tune of £50m.
I think that, ultimately, ‘the media’ prefer to paint Donald as a pauper because it suits the narrative, does it? He inherited a club that recently played Premier League football from a mega-rich American billionaire, and has been fairly transparent in his belief that he’s been incredibly lucky to take over at a club of this stature. The fact he’s so humble (and clean - his money is all self-generated from his insurance and car leasing businesses) makes him an easy target. People know where he comes from and where his money comes from and that makes him, strangely, easy to poke fun at.
Let’s not forget, he also recently went after and successfully sued a national newspaper who printed false information about his personal life.
I’m really looking forward to hearing what Stewart has to say about the club’s plans for the future. The result on Sunday is going to have a big say in the tone of the interview, but ultimately there are some massive topics that we need to cover off.