Dear Roker Report,
Going from the bottom up, I cannot see the new owners impacting the players too much. Due to salary control/FFP and the fact the window is closed, even with all their billions we cannot throw MSD investment into the club now, and it will be hard to do so any time before we are promoted from this league. I would also worry if they did interfere with player related decisions - that’s not their job, and I have seen numerous clubs suffer from shareholder interference outside their expertise. I think the playing side will be impacted minimally if at all.
Going from the top down, I also cannot see the “Dell boys” (get your Robin Reliant t shirts ready, fellow mackems...) considering changes at the level directly below them, namely with Stuart and Charlie etc. MSD are in the process of buying the club from these guys, and if things do head south with respect to results, they will want to hold the sellers accountable by keeping them in the roles they are alleged they will retain and making sure they help right the ship.
Bang in the middle of the mix, sadly for him, is Jack Ross. He was brought in as the chosen manager by Stuart and co, not by MSD or Dell. If results to not get back to winning ways, I firmly believe the new owners (and the old ones in new roles) will be forced to make a change by either side of new year.
If we do not go up this season, the 5 year plus plan to recoup MSD investment will take a huge step back. As Jack is the main variable they can vary, I am pretty sure they will. We will soon have a strategic plan to head into, which over 5-10 years will want us in European games and the PL top 6. If what happens on the grass doesn’t back what needs to happen on the books, the axe will fall. I would like to hope he will have till Xmas or so, but in truth if the sale completes next week as suggested, he may not make it past bonfire night unless he creates a team from the good players we have, and we surge onwards strongly.
Jack is a nice if somewhat underwhelming character, and I would love to see him grow with the club as we do. The team under Jack need to turn our fortunes around and start leading this league from the front to assure his tenure. That 100 point season gets harder with every loss or draw, and despite the sad situation with Bury, the fans and the new owners will want that points tally to be hit, or worst case missed by a minor margin which still keeps us in the top 2. I loved going to Wembley twice last year despite the results, but like most fans, I would happily not bother this season if it meant we are up automatically.
Hopefully the sale can complete soon and we can watch our club grow again. This seems to be a chance to not go back to the yo-yo team we were in my youth and in the early 21st century, but to the glory days of the pre war era. When we can return to being one of the clubs who can be compared to the Bank of England, we will be where the fans deserve us to be. Our fans are the best in the world, and the Dell boys know that or they wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are now.
Cheers guys, haway the lads, onwards and upwards.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I agree with your assertions of what the MSD partners will do once the takeover is completed and their feet are under the table - where we are right now pretty much dictates that they can’t change too much change on the pitch until we’re actually in a position to spend money sustainably in the transfer market.
Regarding Jack Ross, however, I suppose time will tell. It’s pointless guessing about his future really. I’m also not convinced by Ross as manager long term but I’d love for him to prove all of his doubters wrong and grow as a coach with our club. I’d really love to see Sunderland move forward with a man at the helm who will remain there for many years, like Dyche and Burnley and Howe at Bournemouth. Provided Ross gets Sunderland out of this division this season then there’s no reason why he can’t be that man for us.