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Fan Letters: Stewart Donald is looking to leave - what happens next?

In today’s Fan Letters, our readers are asking whether the fans have shot themselves in the foot, does Stewart Donald deserve credit during his reign, and what happens this January in the window? Got Something to say? Email us:!

Dear Roker Report,

It’s a wonder that we Sunderland fans have any feet left to shoot ourselves in.

The latest masterstroke of demanding the owner sacks the manager and sells up and moves on has just ensured another season in League One, as there is now unlikely to be any investment in January.

If you even doubt that, just think about it simplistically; if you ran a shop and most of your best customers wrote to you and told you to f**k off just before your next big stock order, would you try bringing in a new range in to please them? Would you f**k!

So why would SD want to put money into a business that the people when the people who use it, don’t want him there! It no longer matters whether there is money there or not. It won’t be there now, unless we change our tune quickly in January and start to back the team instead of whining, however it now looks like we’re going to have to wheel and deal so there might be some money to spend. However even if we can sell Grigg, McLaughlin, McGeoch and McGeady, they’ll be sold at rock bottom prices, because everyone knows the situation at Sunderland, so if we get any money, we’ll probably only be buying more League One players.

Still, if there’s some space on the wage bill we can always look forward to loaning a 19 year old from Bristol City (are you excited yet?)

In less than three months since we lost to Lincoln and everything seemed to suddenly fall apart, we have managed to persuade the chairman to do our bidding and get rid of the manager, mainly because he doesn’t play the sort of football we like (the downfall of Gus Poyet, who also disrespected us by prioritising the League). We now want him also to get rid of one we never wanted (Jack Ross, Steve Bruce, David Moyes, Simon Grayson) and appoint our choice (Martin O’Neill - yes I know big Sam could be included here too, but he wasn’t here long enough for us to know whether he would have succeeded long-term).

In few short weeks we have managed to emulate our neighbours up the road in convincing our chairman that we are not worth the bother and that he’s best off selling up. Great! Well done everyone! The trouble is that every action has a consequence and when fans “win” like this we have to face up to the fact that chairmen are businessmen and don’t need to be pushed around by us. When they start to think about doing solely what is best for them, the gloves come off and we have ensured that SD will now almost certainly only leave when the price is right for him. In theory we could, like the barcodes, be in stasis here for several years while that happens, treading water in the lower leagues. If you think it can’t happen read up about the Bhatti family who owned Wolves.

In the meantime, we have a manager we don’t want, who is managing players he doesn’t want (many of whom probably don’t want to be here) and we’ve also just guaranteed no extra monies for transfer fees.

If we’re very lucky Mr Donald will at least care enough about the staff to ensure they are safe in their jobs, and like Ashley, he will ensure the club won’t go under because that is not in his interest, but then again that is what the Bury chairman, Stewart Day, said, as did Bolton chairman, Ken Anderson.

I really do now fear for the future; I feel like we have given ourselves nowhere to go. I have watched Sunderland for over 50 years and I am thinking seriously about not renewing my ticket next year (not because I don’t want to support the Lads, but because I am fed up of the negativity that surrounds the place). We can’t seem to get behind anything or anyone for very long. We have no patience and we give very little in the way of support unless we are winning and we can’t accept that bad things (e.g.relegation) do happen. It just seems to me that no-one is good enough to run our club, no one is good enough to manage it and no one is good enough to play for it.

I was so disappointed with the report coming out of the newspapers that SD was actively looking to sell after I had witnessed the green shoots of recovery at Doncaster and a minor rebellion when one d**khead tried to start up “We want Parky out” after their first attack when we are 1-0 up and playing quite well. Thankfully he was reminded that when we are winning, behaviour like that is not classed as support - to quote the guy stood near me “Not when we’re winning for f**k’s sake!”

We’re only 8 points of the automatic promotion - anyone who remembers 2007-8 season will remember how anything is possible when we all get together. Personally, I don’t care if the chairman is Donald Duck and the manager is Michael Parkinson, I’ll get behind them and I’ll want them to be successful.

Isn’t it about time we all get together and accept it’s shit, but we can only get out of the shit if we stand together - whoever is in charge!

Bob Graham

Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Bob, I think it’s worth noting that Donald has been actively looking to sell for months now - we’ve had two takeovers fail this season alone that we’ve known about publicly. Whether Donald’s decision to be sell quickly will have any impact on January was answered in Tuesday’s press conference as Phil Parkinson noted:

The owner, I spoke to him this morning, is fully committed to bringing players in.

I think improving the squad is in his interests. Fixing the side and improving our league position equates to a more valuable club to sell.

Furthermore, I honestly do think Donald deserves credit for what he’s done whilst at the club. We were allegedly a matter of weeks away from administration when he took over, so thanks should be given to his team for steadying the ship during such a desperate time.

I do, however, think that fans have every right to voice their opinion when things are going wrong, which they clearly have been. Could the #DonaldOut situation have been handled better? Maybe, but then again those groups involved specifically asked to speak with Donald and he was said to have refused, so how else should they have responded?

Fans have been supporting the club, that’s why 4,000 went down to Doncaster and over 30,000 attend the SoL every home game. It was noted in the press the other day that all the recent unrest has really done is convince Donald to sell entirely, instead of remaining as a board member.

Fans, aren’t to blame, in my opinion, for Donald’s decision to exit the club as they’ve supported the team magnificently and will continue to do so. Our failings are clear to see and they should have been addressed for quite some time. If Donald wants to leave instead of continuing to try and enhance the club, then that’s his prerogative really. I will wish him all the best and thank him for his time.

Dear Roker Report,

I remember 18 months ago Stewart Donald arrived like a fresh sea breeze. For a season we had had hope, we went to the games with a smile and confidence. At the end of the day we fell tragically short.

Sunderland may have proven to be too big a step for Donald to deal with, but we owe him a great vote of thanks. If he hadn’t arrived I dread to think where we would be today. We may be down but I fear with Donald we would now be not only down but out for the count.

Ernest Rutter

Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Ernest, I totally agree with your sentiments. It’s just disappointing that communications broke down so quickly. Many have identified the issues plaguing the club for a whole, unfortunately they haven’t been remedied. You’re right, though, that Donald certainly tried his best and definitely helped the club short-term, unfortunately he doesn’t seem capable of going any further than that.

Stadium of Light - Sunderland AFC Sunderland AFC

Dear Roker Report,

One in one out - at the moment I can only say that Hume and O’Nien would be the players that other teams are looking at... surely Donald will not let these two go?

Anthony Lynn

Ed’s Note [Tom]: I’d like to think that both players will stay - they’ve both signed new deals recently. People have noted that maybe Donald will totally give up this window, but that’s really his decision to make, isn’t it? Don’t invest and potentially see more poor results: that lowers the value of the club. Invest and fix major areas of concern: that could well push us toward the playoffs and would subsequently increase the value of the club.

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