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Fan Letters: Fans debate Sunderland’s ownership & financial situation

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In today’s Fan Letters, readers Martin and Ian argue that the club’s ownership are struggling and are worried about our financial future. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts: RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk!

Coventry City v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Firstly, I cannot believe that this is still a debate. The overwhelming evidence which is out there in STID, radio interviews, many podcasts, newspaper interviews and the results on the pitch all points to this ownership group being out of their depth and must go, now!!!

As much as I’m not an Ellis Short fan it should not be underestimated and in a lot of people’s cases just ignored what he actually did to make the takeover possible.

SD and CM firstly denied using parachute payments to buy the club, then admitted they did but would be putting that money back into the club. Ok, we now have a £10m loan, why?? SD has publicly stated SAFC is the most professionally ran club in EFL history and the club is in cracking financial state. SD said on podcast that we were close to signing George Evans, a few days later he signed for Derby. There’s keeping fans informed and then there’s stupidity, SD himself admitted he had said too much. On STID he is seen telling staff member they need a lot of investment, why when we are in cracking financial shape? SD showed a massive lack of judgement and the inability to take advice from his football people at the club and ploughed on and bought Grigg. How can a club become successful under an owner who doesn’t listen to those more experienced and with more knowledge. Will he continue to undermine his managers and advisers? The takeover that never was according to SD and CM, takeover one minute, then it’s an investment and then it’s a loan. Mark Campbell almost bought the club, he pulled out as did FPP. Where is the £50m SD claims he had to show the EFL before they approved his takeover?

SD and CM have continually contradicted one another, so who is right and who is spinning? What is clear and correct is you cannot have 2 different voices coming from the club. The message has to be a unified one.

I am not and will not say this is an easy club to turnaround. A lot was wrong and a lot is still wrong with our club. There is so much still to be rectified.

It is clear that the way forward is to invest in the playing staff, coaches, scouts etc. and that obviously takes serious money. If we do manage to go up this season, how many true championship quality players can SD afford to buy. Firstly, it’s obvious we will need a proven championship goalscorer and that will cost more than SD has spent in total since the takeover and we’ll need many more than just one player.

Everyone can have good intentions and in SD’s case that is extremely debatable, but inevitably it is results that matter in football and League One is simply not good enough for SAFC.

For the good of the club, SD needs to leave and pass the reigns to someone/a group who have the financial clout to back their plans.

Martin Hindmarsh

Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Martin, thanks for writing in. I think fans can sympathize with Donald because he was so emotionally invested and open to communication when he took control of the club. He listened to the fans and acted on our gripes.

That being said, there are some financial question marks lingering over the whole situation - as you noted. I think what has stung some fans the most is the use of the parachute money in the purchasing of the club. Moving forward I agree that there needs to be some kind of injection of cash, but not another promise of investment that turns into a loan. I’m just hopeful that whatever is done, that it is done with the best interest of the club at heart.

Sunderland AFC

Dear Roker Report,

If you watch the 2nd series of STID, see his wife tell SD “You are going to sell the club aren’t you?” His wife is worried about the toll and pressure on there family life... SD replies, “Well the kids like me owning the club” I realised from that point Sunderland was simply a Stuart Donald vanity project.

I now realise how these failed attempts from prospective new owners were mysteriously backing out after long-winded negotiations. He has even said today in the local paper that he would love to stay or retain a stake in the club. I say to SD in the words of Amy Winehouse: “NO NO NO.” This man has failed twice with his only agenda being get us the hell out of this league! Pack your bags SD and just go, you do not have the experience, the money, or the gravitas that this once great club deserves.

Ian Scott

Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Ian, thanks for writing in. I personally don’t think that Donald sees this as a vanity project, but I do think he sees this as a financial project - one that hasn’t worked out at present. In my opinion, I think the ownership team likely invested with the hope that they’d find quick success - and that’s not a bad thing, that’s what Sunderland fans also want. However, I think that Donald and co. also measure success in terms of pound signs, not just points and promotions. As such, a promotion last season would have seen the club increase in value significantly. At present, Donald and co. are having to graft to try and get us moving in the right direction. I’m not a member of the ‘Donald Out’ brigade, not if the owner still wants to find success here. Do we need additional monies/investment/new ownership down the line? Maybe, but success isn’t out of our grasp entirely.