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Fan Letters: Some home truths re: Stewart Donald’s ownership of Sunderland AFC...

RR reader Sam Lucas is still not convinced that the full truth has been told about the circumstances around how Stewart Donald bought Sunderland AFC from Ellis Short in 2018. Email us:

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

When is it going to dawn on us that our owners are completely out of their depth. Where is the £50 Million that SD “suddenly found in his piggy bank” (his words) a year ago when the EFL insisted seeing his “proof of funds” (he made it clear prior to this that he was only worth £8.5 Million but miraculously produced £50 Million when pressed by the EFL).

He said he needed to pay ES over 2 years for his £40 Million shares so he could use this £50 Million to finance and run the club over that time. I can see no sign of this money. We had future parachute payments of I believe £45 Million when he bought the club. Where is that money??? This club was 100% debt free when SD took over the club. Nothing adds up.

SD headed an “International Consortium of investors” when he bought our club. Where did they disappear to. What BS that was. Again a year later he is hopeful of selling his shares to “USA & Middle East Investors”. Again nothing seems to be happening. It’s not his shares he’s trying to sell that is of interest, but what investment on top of that will SAFC get. He keeps all the money from the sale of his shares, so how will that benefit SAFC. We are certainly no better than we were a year ago. Looking at the 2 players we have signed and the quality of players being linked with us, we will at best become a fixture in this division for years to come. We are Sunderland and not a non league club. Why the hell did SD buy the club???? Answer that question. Certainly not for the love of it or the fans. What’s happening is tragic

Sam Lucas

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I think we probably ought to establish some facts here because those are some wild accusations you’re throwing around.

1) Stewart Donald never claimed to be worth £8 million - that was a fan online who visited some cheap AI website that estimated the value of companies.

2) The EFL will always want to see that someone’s entire net worth is capable of supporting the club they want to buy. Because Sunderland were losing more than £20 million a year and had huge historic transfer liabilities, the EFL wanted to see that, first, Donald had the money to pay Ellis Short £15m. Second, that he had the money to afford a big ongoing operational asset and, third, that he could afford the trade debts (to other football clubs) given that the majority of the parachute payment had already gone on another debt (SBC).

The EFL needed to know that if the sh*t really hit the fan - Didier Ndong, Papy Djilobodji, Jack Rodwell and co staying, plus losing historical legal cases (Alvarez, etc) - that he could meet the bills.

So he had to show them £50 million of wealth. Of that £50 million, around £20 million has now been spent on buying and running the club. Sunderland AFC is not only debt free and coming close to breaking even, but last season it also had a) the largest wage bill in League One history (at £15 million, we had a mid-table Championship wage budget) and b) spent the most on transfers of any other League One team in history, at £5 million in total.

So, I ask you this - what do you actually want? Would you rather the club be in debt? Would you rather the club lose £20 million a year? Would you rather the club cut the wage budget to actual top end League One levels? Would you rather we didn’t spend more on transfers in one season than the entire rest of the league put together?

I’ll leave you on that...

PA Images via Getty Images

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