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Fan Letters: “How can you possibly prefer Mike Ashley to Stewart Donald!?”

RR reader Robert Crosby implores his fellow Sunderland fans to maintain a baseline moral expectation, should Donald end up selling in the near or distant future. Got something to say?!

Dear Roker Report,

My opinion has not changed from day one, when SD said he was only the spokesman for an international consortium of investors. This turned out not to be true, just like a lot that has come out of his mouth since. It is all smoke and mirrors and “Cease & Desist” letters or threats of legal action against anyone who demands real answers or dares to say it as it is. SD, you are in a league of your own and by far the worst owner we’ve ever had.

Sam Lucas

Ed’s Note [Alex]: Your sentiments don’t surprise me at all Sam and I certainly don’t begrudge you having them.

To make poor decisions as an owner of Sunderland is one thing, but to outright lie about your actions and intentions is another. Like many fans, I simply don’t appreciate being lied to; I would much rather an owner who says little publicly but delivers on promises than one who exclaims from the high heavens to ‘re-connect the club and the fans’ only to tell the fans complete fiction from behind a thin veil of hollow soundbites.

Sometimes it makes you wonder why you bother.

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

Dear Roker Report,

I was astonished to read Billy’s comment that he would rather have Ashley over Stewart Donald - and I was shocked to read the editorial response.

In one sense, you hit the nail on the head with your reply to Billy. Ashley is devoid of morals. He offends with his cavalier attitude to the human beings who he uses/employs in his Sports Direct warehouse in Shirebrook. He was called out for disgraceful employment practices before the pandemic and, unsurprisingly, more allegations have emerged since showing his company’s complete disregard for social distancing of the workers unfortunate enough to need to work for him. The reason I work for a trade union is because I think people matter!

I DO take issue with anyone who says they would take Ashley in Donald’s place if he could “deliver success”. Let’s face it, he hasn’t exactly made Newcastle world beaters! Even if he had though, are we really saying that whatever we might regard as “success” for SAFC should take precedence over all over considerations - including basic human ones? Didn’t we learn anything from the shame of the Di Canio experiment? If you involve appalling people in your club, it will always end in tears.

Sure, we need Donald to sell - but please let’s try to maintain some expectation that even a most basic ‘fit and proper person’ test will be applied to a prospective new owner??!

Robert Crosby

Ed’s Note [Alex]: I see what you’re saying and, for what it’s worth, your standpoint is the one I share.

Mike Ashley, for all the reasons you’ve outlined and more, is up there with some of the worst people to conceivably represent a working-class North East football club, given his blatantly abhorrent moral compass. I personally wouldn’t want him, but as he is also someone who is clearly capable of throwing money at a problem until is eventually goes away (as evidenced by most of his time at Newcastle) I wouldn’t criticise fellow Sunderland fans for wanting that financial backing as a means to an end.

In a perfect world, Donald would sell and we would get an owner capable of injecting substantial liquid assets while also - at the very least - being a decent human being. For such an apparent pipe dream to transpire, we are going to need a fit and proper persons test. That is absolutely non-negotiable in my eyes.

Oxford United v Newcastle United - FA Cup Fourth Round: Replay Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

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