Phil West says...
It is difficult to feel anything other than a sense of genuine optimism and excitement about what the next chapter will bring.
I don’t feel as rampantly euphoric as I did when Niall Quinn and Drumaville pitched up at the SOL during the summer of 2006, but suffice it to say, after almost three turbulent years under the ownership of Stewart Donald, I’m allowing myself to dream of better days in red and white to come.
It has been obvious for some time that Donald lacked the financial firepower to take us forward, and it is the absolutely correct decision for him to take a reduced shareholding and allow new people to take over the running of the club. The fans turned against him en-masse long ago, and that has fostered negativity and discontent, neither of which have benefited anybody.
There is no doubt that KLD’s investment into the club represents a golden opportunity to release the handbrake and to get this club moving at pace once again. The target has to be a return to the Premier League, but it will require patience from everyone. Assuming we don’t get promoted this season, there will hopefully be money available for the summer, to enable us to clear the decks, rebuild the squad, and to begin the 2021/2022 campaign at full throttle. KLD certainly strikes me as an ambitious kind of businessman, who speaks extremely articulately, and at twenty two years of age, will not lack enthusiasm and vigour, both of which are essential attributes at this club.
KLD must attempt to rebuild the connection between the club and its fanbase, which has been damaged significantly by what has happened since 2018. He needs to reposition the club at the heart of the city once again, and ensure that everyone (players, staff, executives and fans) are pulling in the same direction.
The potential of this club is enormous, but the right structures must be put in place if we want to harness that potential. Encouragingly, it does appear that he will embrace a modern, forward-thinking way of operating, and that is a positive. The football landscape has changed tremendously over the past three years, and we must be right on the leading edge of progress if we want to achieve anything in the seasons to come.
All of the club’s problems will not be solved overnight, and nor should we expect them to be, but this is the change we have been seeking for a long time. As it says on the Bob Murray gates outside the SOL, this club is ‘for us all’, and hopefully that mantra will be at the heart of the club’s philosophy once again, as we embark upon this new chapter.
Kelvin Beattie says...
I am gripped momentarily by a full body convulsion best described in the phrase “it’s the hope that kills us”. Can a young, rich Frenchman from a privileged and very different world to the one most of us inhabit, bond with the phenomenon that is Sunderland AFC and its gregarious horde that are its supporters?
I am sure there will be some amongst us who will say we do not need him to bond, and that we just need his money, but I’d I disagree.
If this is to be a new dawn, I want KLD to become one of our own. I want him to stand with me in the South West corner and experience the passion, humour and noise that a ramped up Roker delivers when the team and backroom (including the chairman) delivers on the pitch. I want KLD to ‘get’ not just the city but the area and its affinity with its team. I want him to make it his personal goal to forge a relationship with the fans and RAWA in particular that will be a template and the envy of the football world as we move into post pandemic/ brexit England.
We the fans clamour for any sign of upward trajectory. I want with all my heart a team that plays in our image - hard-working, with a delicious slice of skill, hard but fair, entertaining but serious about what we do..... it’s not too big an ask, is it?
The appointment of Speakman and Johnson are a start. The noises being made about the academy and re-investing in the best young talent in the region are music to my ears. The measured, calm press releases from the KLD corner have been encouraging and appropriate - someone has been doing their homework, and this too augers well.
The hope may indeed kill me and I am old enough at 62 to know better, but welcome to Sunderland, Kyril Louis-Dreyfus - if there is anything I can do to assist you bring this phenomenon and their horde to Valhalla, I stand ready and willing.
Bienvenue au jeune proprie’taire dans notre famille!
Malc Dugdale says...
I am cautiously optimistic, deep down.
We have a new young owner who is financially very well positioned to invest, as is needed in the club as a whole. He has a footballing family around him and links to clubs across Europe which will hopefully enable a whole new angle with loans in and out. He has already laid a few foundational bricks by apparently being consulted on the appointment of Speakman and Johnson, so it feels like the club has a vision he wants to head towards.
The fickle side of me reminds me that we have been owned by a wealthy person from overseas before, and after a while he lost interest in the life-sized subbuteo by the River Wear and sold it to an insurance salesman to get out, so we cannot automatically assume the bank balance of Kyril Louis-Dreyfus is a guarantee of success.
We should however be better placed to thrive under the new man than we would under Donald, Sartori and Methven.
Let’s hope Kyril is in this for the long haul, and we go from the strength to strength.
Welcome aboard and enjoy the ride - let’s all hope we have a “nice one, Kyril”.
Gary Engel says...
We’ve collectively bemoaned the running of the club for too long. With very good reason - few clubs have imploded and dropped from Premier League status to our current position.
That didn’t just happen, it was down to bad management at every level of our beloved football club. I would suggest it is why the takeover and added, frustrating queries have been raised by the EFL about all board members commitment going forward.
For anyone who has supported Sunderland since the 50s, we’ve experienced our own disappointments, broken promises, what ifs and false dawns. We’ve seen excitement turn to despair all too quickly. Under the current regime we’ve learned nothing is quite as it first appears. But as Sunderland fans we’ve grown big enough to find the silver lining where possible. As I said, few clubs have fallen two divisions like us. But if it wasn’t for Donald and Methven we may not have even survived the relegation from the Championship.
But short-termisim has been this club’s biggest vice for decades now. It is what has landed us right where we find ourselves today. As Sunderland fans though, it's about more than just surviving,but evolving. It may be touch and go if we make the play-offs this season, let alone win promotion. But between now and the summer, we have a great opportunity to finally plan a strategy not just to limp on towards the next transfer window, but for the next 3-4 years.
Niall Quinn once admitted that winning promotion in the first season took his consortium by surprise, and created the problem of not being ready when it happened. When we go up to the next level, let’s pray we don’t see that again because of a lack of a plan.
For anyone that pays attention to omens, Kyril Louis-Dreyfus was born the same year that the Stadium of Light was opened, and Kevin Phillips signed for us... just saying.
Joseph Tulip says...
This is a development which has to be greeted with both relief and optimism. Regardless of anyone’s opinion of Donald and Co, they have lacked serious financial resources and their plan has never recovered from the play off defeat of 2019.
There are never any guarantees with any takeover, but Kyril Louis-Dreyfus not only has serious resources, he is also young enough to grow an empire here.
We should be aiming for a return to the Premier League at the earliest opportunity, but over the next decade, why can’t a club of our undoubted potential be knocking on the door of European football? It’s one of the very things Bob Murray dreamed of when he created a stadium which could still be expanded to cater for over 60,000 fans.
Ambitious? Yes. But this is what we’ve been waiting for since those two seventh placed finishes under Peter Reid 20 years ago.
KLD will now know what Sunderland AFC is capable of, and hopefully he will be the man to deliver, and will have the specialist support around him to ensure the mistakes made under Ellis Short are never repeated.