Over the coming weeks Sunderland’s future for the next two or three seasons could well be set in stone. With the eventual clarification of affairs behind the scenes at board level and the current transfer window these could prove to be pivotal weeks in the club’s history.
That’s certainly nothing that most Sunderland supporters didn’t already know.
For any potential investors who want to know anything about a football club, the fan base is the best possible starting point. Every fan will have their own separate opinion, but any Sunderland fan will give a good account of what the club has been through and what untapped potential the club has.
Sunderland’s previous regime lost touch with that, and the clubs rich as well as varied history as one of the biggest clubs in English football. It would be reckless for that to happen again but makes the current fan worries more understandable. We are Sunderland fans; we’ve been promised the world before and left disappointed.
So, we are not at liberty to know how far off a takeover, or an investment is.
As much as all the questions and speculation must be getting to Stewart Donald, Charlie Methven and even Jack Ross the not knowing is even worse for fans. The uncertainty up the road on Tyneside this week, if anything, has only heightened Black Cats fans’ concerns of what can go wrong until everything is finally sealed.
To put it in understandable business terms, the Sunderland fans are like shareholders. Without clarity, or certainty, shareholders get jittery with a loss of confidence, and no business wants that.
Stewart Donald may be correct that Sunderland only need around eight players. But he is also a businessman who knows that there are timeframes for doing the best business.
There are reasons clubs make early transfer deals for players, there is less pressure and so clubs usually get a better deal at the beginning of the window opposed to the back end of August.
Some Sunderland fans are still smarting from the last transfer deal completed on Wearside for Will Grigg, which shows what happens when time is against a football club in the transfer market. While Donald and Ross appear confident Grigg will turn a corner and return to the form which has made him the top scorer in League One over the past few seasons, many supporters have their doubts.
Therefore both sides - fans and owners alike - need to appreciate where the other are coming from. The fans have been present in their droves throughout the most turbulent fall of any football club in recent times.
Like the comparison to shareholders earlier, the fans have been burnt before, trust comes at a premium on Wearside. But strike the right deal, form a respectful balance with the fans, match the kind of ambition the history of this club and its fanbase deserve – then the country will see what this area can be capable of.