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Editorial Comment: Clarifying our position on the future for Sunderland AFC

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With change on the horizon at Sunderland Association Football Club, and daily discussion amongst supporters on the subject of a prevalent topic, the editorial team here at Roker Report think that it would be good to clarify our position on the direction which the club is headed.

Last December we stood up along with Red & White Army, A Love Supreme and Wise Men Say to make the case to Sunderland fans that Stewart Donald has outstayed his welcome, and the Editorial team at Roker Report stand by what was said.

And by #DonaldOut, we meant as an absolute minimum that he no longer has a controlling stake in our football club. We still do not trust him to be the custodian of the future of our city’s most valuable asset. We want real change, a real plan and real investment for the future. Above all else, we want our club to be back where it belongs.

Over the course of this horrendous year, the #DonaldOut movement has grown and has long represented the majority opinion of the fanbase, as reflected in the Red & White Army survey in July that showed only 4 per cent support the current ownership of the club.

We also acknowledge the fact that nobody can force Stewart Donald or the other Madrox Partners to sell all of their shares, and the reality that in a capitalist system those with the capital will make decisions primarily in their own interests, with profit as their overriding motivation. If Stewart Donald chooses to retain a minority of the club’s shares in the hope of cashing in if and when we get promotion, there’s nothing we can do to prevent this.

We understand from our own sources of information - backed up by reports in international and national publications, as well as local media - that a serious change in ownership is underway at Sunderland AFC that will see Kyril Louis-Dreyfus become the largest single investor in the club, but we also accept that there are a number of complicating factors that have drawn out the process way beyond what anyone would want.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing lack of fans in grounds and the resulting financial stress across the EFL, the proposed bailout, and the lack of clarity on the UK’s future trading and investment relationship with the European Union, are all interacting to make this perhaps the most challenging time for anyone to buy a football club.

We do not support the club accepting any financial assistance from the EFL relating to bailout monies that would place restrictions and sanctions on Sunderland’s ability to invest for the future, hampering plans to rebuild our club.

We are also concerned about the impact that continuing uncertainty around these issues, as well as the baseless speculation and suspicion that pervades social media and fan forums, has on the collective mental health of everyone involved, and the unity of the fanbase overall.

Finally, we wholeheartedly support the footballing vision that has recently been outlined by Kristjaan Speakman, and implemented by Lee Johnson. The RAWA survey in July identified that the biggest concern fans have about Madrox’s ownership is the management of the Academy, and the loss of Academy products to other clubs. Regardless of who was or was not involved in their respective appointments, we believe that the changes that have been made are a step in the right direction when it comes to what Sunderland fans want to see for the future of the club.

Keep Safe, and Keep the Faith!

Gav, Craig, Sean, Rich, Chris & Martin

Disclaimer: Please note that these views are those of the editorial team at Roker Report, which have been agreed upon collectively, and not by each of the contributors of Roker Report. We are a large group made up of Sunderland supporters with varying views, and as such we’d like to clarify that we speak only on behalf of ourselves, and not every single member of the team. Thank you for reading.

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