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Roker Roundtable: Is it purely results on the pitch that Stewart Donald needs to improve?

After almost two years the confidence in Stewart Donald’s stewardship of Sunderland AFC is at an all time low. But is it merely results that need to be improved, or is there more to it? Let us know your thoughts.

Sunderland Press Conference - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Is it purely results on the pitch that Stewart Donald needs to improve to turn around his time as owner of Sunderland AFC?


Jack Howe-Gingell says...

If the results on the pitch were better then I’m sure a lot more of this would be glossed over, without a doubt.

Success certainly buys time, and had we been promoted last season or dominating in this one, there would be less discord.

That said, you have to wonder if we were currently bumping along the bottom of The Championship (a real possibility with the lack of finance under the current leadership), I’m sure the current issues would have surfaced.

Ultimately though, the mismanagement at board level is pretty plain. The failure to sell the club has shown the owner’s true colours - the people’s chairman is certainly long gone, and there are not many now who will be happy until he has departed.

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Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says...

The short answer is ’yes’.

For the second successive season Sunderland AFC have found themselves in their lowest league standing since the club’s formation in 1879. Whilst Donald inherited what was deemed to be a flawed project at the time, a collective mismanagement elsewhere has manifested itself in a string of poor results.

A plethora of issues remain prevalent at the club with a seeming inability for us to hold on to our most gifted and important players. Subsequently, contract management has fallen by the wayside with upwards of 10 first team players out of contract in the coming months. Add to that some poor recruitment and scouting, as well as a failing academy being robbed of their best players and it paints a grim picture to fans.

Sadly for Donald, I think the picture is pretty clear now. Good grace and communication between the fans and the club are at a low and I can’t see that being solved until Donald moves on. At this stage it would be beneficial to all parties.

That isn’t to say Donald hasn’t tried his best, or is a bad person for doing so, but sometimes you just have to hold your hands up when you’ve gotten something so badly wrong, just as his predecessor did before him.

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Sunderland AFC at lowest point since formation in 1879
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Matthew Foster says...

Whilst results may improve his position in the short term, it would only be papering over the cracks of more deep-rooted issues.

It feels like a vast portion of fans, myself included, will distrust anything Stewart says or does from here on in. He has created a divide that nobody would have suspected when he was on the terraces with the fans last season. As soon as you lose that trust, it’s hard to claw your way back onside.

Of course, results always improve the mood around a club, but do we really want a man who trips himself up every time he opens his mouth running the club?

Everybody of course wants to see better results on the pitch, but moving forward, the club needs a fresh face at the top. Somebody we can trust, somebody with who we know the club’s future is in safe hands.

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Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Philip Butler says...

Overall, I’d have to say that results alone would turn around Stewart Donald’s time in charge of the club; however, I would also note that results on the pitch are not independent of the decisions taken by Donald and Co. - instead they are a result of these decisions.

We’ve already seen with the sale of Josh Maja, and the failure to replace him, that decisions made behind the scenes directly impact upon results on the pitch.

So, whilst improved results alone would improve Donald’s reputation as Sunderland owner, without an improvement in the running of the club these results would merely be a short-term fix before Donald goes back to being public enemy number one.

It’s always said that football is a results business, but without changes off the pitch the results to turn around the Donald-era simply will not appear.

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Was the sale of Josh Maja the beginning of the end last season?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images