I like to think that I’m a pretty good judge of character. Usually, I go with my gut instinct. I’m not perfect, and I often get things wrong, but I reckon more often than not my gut tends to get it right. And I’d always encourage others to follow the same principles - if something doesn’t feel right, that’s probably because it isn’t.
So, when someone publicly declares their intention to prise Sunderland AFC from the oily grasp of Stewart Donald, and it doesn’t feel right, then you have the right to shout up and tell everyone exactly why you feel the way that you do.
If we don’t bring these issues to the fore then it’s entirely likely that these people will get exactly what they want - that being OUR football club - and we’ll all be forced to sit back and watch as yet another horrifying mess plays out in front of us - though, next time, we might not get a second chance.
We’ve been too badly burned in the past by similarly horrifying situations, except this time we’re experienced; we’re tooled-up with knowledge and ready to take on the next chancer who tries to claim Sunderland as their own. And whilst our football club sits here in its worst-ever position, and it feels as though things might even get worse before they get better, the scars that we’ve picked up along the way genuinely count for something.
We won’t be as welcoming to strangers as we have been in the past - instead we’ll be wily, cautious and naturally suspicious. And rightly so.
We’ll make them work to gain our trust. We’ll be the first ones to nip something in the bud if it’s clear that the situation they’re creating isn’t right for Sunderland AFC.
There are far too many examples of bad people buying similarly placed football clubs, with disastrous consequences as a result. I bet fans of Wigan, Hull, Bury and Charlton wish that they had been able to do more when their clubs were in the process of being purchased by men with all the wrong intentions. They’d love to be in the shoes of Sunderland supporters, who right now have the power to ensure that vultures get nowhere near owning even a crumb of what this club is worth.
We might not be able to force Stewart Donald into selling to someone elected by the supporters - that would, of course, be daft - but we can use our voices, our pens and the platforms we all have afforded to us by social media to ensure that dodgy people who are vocal with their interest in wanting to get involved with Sunderland are told to keep as far away from our football club as they possibly can, if they value their sanity.
I won’t name names, but I’m sure you know the sort of characters I’m talking about.
It’s been heartening to see my fellow supporters standing up for themselves in recent weeks - standing up for their beliefs. We now know right from wrong and look on from afar as some truly spectacular situations play out at other football clubs.
We can smell a conman from a mile off.
Hopefully my message spreads in the right direction. To my fellow fans, I implore you to keep beating the drum wherever you can. Go with your gut. Like I said, if something feels wrong then that’s probably because it is wrong. Stand up for the fanbase whenever you can, and stand up against those who are obviously wrong for Sunderland.
And to anyone wishing to buy our club - if you don’t have the financial clout, the plans and the right intentions to make Sunderland successful over the long term then don’t even bother, because believe me - you’ll not last two minutes.
The right owners will come along one day and our football club WILL be successful.
But, until then, let’s keep working together. It’s our club, not theirs.