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Will the resignation of Stewart Donald as Chairman of Sunderland AFC change anything?

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Stewart Donald has resigned as chairman of Sunderland AFC, and the news has caused some debate amongst supporters regarding whether or not things will actually change - for better or for worse. What do you think?

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Will the resignation of Stewart Donald as Chairman of Sunderland AFC change anything?


Lars Knutsen says...

My read on it is that this is all due to domestic pressure on SD; something his wife suggested in STID season 2.

“Why can’t you just be a supporter?”

The day-to-day running of a major business, in this case SAFC, is coordinated and led by the CEO. The Chairman really had the task of appointing and motivating Jim Rodwell and chairing the Supervisory Board.

So it depends on who the next Chairperson will be. But it looks like this has been planned for some time, and not just on the back of a fag packet... à la Mike Bassett, England Manager.

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Philip West says...

I see the resignation of Stewart Donald as chairman as an empty gesture and a use of sleight of hand to create the impression that he is on the brink of selling up and departing altogether. On the face of it, it sounds significant, but when you take a closer look, it rings rather hollow.

As widely expected, Donald has taken a hands-off approach to the running of the club for quite some time, and with Jim Rodwell already installed as CEO and seemingly empowered to take most of the decisions, Donald remains firmly in control, if not in charge of daily operations.

Given what we discovered in the wake of last week’s RAWA meeting, not least his current valuation of the club, it seems that he is bracing himself for a very long and drawn-out standoff as he attempts to secure the profit that he clearly desires.

The only way this football club can begin to move forward with any real momentum is when a total and complete change of ownership takes place. Donald might’ve retreated further by resigning as chairman, and has already claimed that he is trying to ‘get out’ and fulfill the wishes of the fans, but it is still very much his regime.

Until I see the words ‘Deal struck to sell Sunderland AFC’, and concrete proof that the Donald era is over, I’ll remain sceptical about any changes in personnel at boardroom level.

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

Tom Albrightson says...

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Whilst ultimately I’m glad Donald has stepped aside, change won’t be forthcoming in the manner we desire.

A hallmark of Donald’s tenure as Sunderland’s owner - of which he still is - has been one of missed opportunity and I can’t see this being any different this time around.

With nobody any the wiser to who is running the club, sackings and redundancies being thrown around like they’re going out of fashion, and the rest of the staff still furloughed, the likelihood of any change coming is minimal.

One of Donald’s final appointments was of course James Rodwell. I think the less said about Mr. Rodwell the better - especially after what has been a crash-course in how to piss a fanbase off in as short a time as possible.

The fact it seems this man will be most probably be involved in some capacity when it comes to sourcing and appointing a new chairman should scupper any hope we have of the appointment being sensible or a positive addition to the club.

As things stand, any modicum of real, positive change will come from a change of ownership rather than guidance from the club’s Chairman. More so, the appointment of a new chairman who embodies any kind of change is made all the less likely whilst the current owner is clawing at any and all opportunities to sell the club.

At this stage, the appointment of a chairman by a seemingly outgoing owner suggests that it will be one merely to keep up appearances or saving face, as oppose to one final roll of the dice to instil some real change and belief at the club.

What’s Eastleigh’s chairman up to at the minute?

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Reece Davies says...

A smokescreen to add to the joke that is this bloke’s tenure. He is going to employ a front man for the impending shit storm that hits, and then point the finger, regardless of the fact he will be making all of the decisions at the club.

The fact remains, apart from Jim Rodwell, we actually have no “leadership” structure at the club.

The club’s a sh*t show and I’ve had enough. Will it make a difference that he’s gone? The simple answer is no. This club is sinking and everyone is jumping ship - including the captain - leaving us to go down with it.

We will be starting the 2020/21 campaign in early September if the FA release on grassroots football is anything to go by, and we are nowhere near being a club that can challenge. Whilst I’m happy for SD to step aside, we now have to put a leadership team in place at the club before we even touch the playing squad - and who is going to make those decisions? Neil Fox? Jim Rodwell? No chance, it’s going to be SD, and let’s face it his track record doesn’t fill you with optimism.

The recruitment team needed to go, but I question the point and the timing at this stage.

Just crap, the lot of it.

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

Philip Butler says...

I think the resignation of Stewart Donald is similar to that of Charlie Methven a few months ago. As long as the he retains his stake in Madrox, and by association in the club, then it doesn’t make any difference which job title he has, or even if he has one at all.

As Mr. Methven has shown, being on the board is not a requirement for being outspoken about the club and Stewart Donald’s resignation should be seen as nothing more than a facade behind which very little has changed.

I have to admit, the change along with Jim Rodwell’s appointment does make it hard not the draw comparisons with the end of Ellis Short’s time at the club - an owner looking to sell but not wanting to carry their debts away with them appointing a front man to run the club day-to-day whilst they retreat into the shadows.

The only difference seems to be that whilst Sunderland’s expenses were loose change for Short, they’re a much more significant financial burden for Stewart Donald.

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