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Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One - Stadium Of Light

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Fan Letters: Isn’t it concerning that, at best, the jury is still out on KLD? asks RR reader Dan

Dan’s far from convinced about Mr Louis-Dreyfus, while Thomas reflects on a frustrating game against Crewe.

Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

A win’s a win. Happy with the three points but like against Fleetwood, another frustrating performance. We have an abundance of creative attacking players yet they created so little in the first 80 mins. Thank goodness the subs paid off, Dan Neil and Roberts changed the game. I think Clarke has potential but he’s becoming very predictable, he’s always going to want to cut back onto his right foot so he’s easy to defend against. I couldn’t understand not attempting to play through Crewe. Long balls towards to Defoe are not going to work. A better team today would have punished us. Hopefully, though, a couple of back to back wins will give the lads confidence going forward.

Thomas Hewitt

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Just as on Tuesday, we won because we had better players, not because we were the better team necessarily. If we’d played like that against a better team we’d have been out of the game at half time. We’re shelling the ball straight from the centre of defence to the centre forward, and bypassing the midfield, which is a huge concern to me. I’m not sure why Alex Neil has decided to change that element of our play, as we were playing some lovely stuff on occasions before, and have the players to do so again. But, as you say, a win’s a win...

Sunderland v Crewe Alexandra - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Not too long ago I wrote about my positive feelings regarding KLD. How wrong might I have been. And how wrong I have been in my happy clapping naivety towards any owner since I started following the club around 2009.

The jury might still be out on KLD I guess. And he might be better than Madrox but this not exactly a huge accomplishment. I doubt that he is any better than Ellis Short. Short at least resurrected himself in the end with his astonishing debt cancelling gesture. Unfortunately, my guess is that Ellis Short cares much more about the club than KLD does. Please prove me wrong KLD.

Isn’t it concerning that at best the jury is still out on KLD? He has been here for more than a year after all. I would assume that a truly good owner would within 3-6 months have proven beyond doubt to the fans that he was exactly that. A good owner. A true custodian. Not just somebody talking bullshit, being silent and absent, and possibly taking very little real action.

To me, a good owner ticks all or most of these boxes (probably others as well, I am no expert):

  • Walk the walk, who cares about bullshit and cheap sales talk. Cuts the crap. Is honest and doesn’t hide the truth, always. Behaves more like perhaps Niall Quinn, Roy Keane and Alex Neil among others (although the jury is still out on Alex Neil of course, but I like his seeming honesty). Behave the opposite of what KLD, Madrox and Ellis Short have typically done.
  • Lives in the local area. Or at the very least spends extensive amounts of time there.
  • Have extensive talks with the locals. Not only people high and low within the club staff, but also frequent engagement in fan meetings. And just informally meeting people in public, hanging out in pubs and in malls talking to people, debating all SAFC, listening to what people have to say.
  • Keeps ticket prices as low as possible. Perhaps often handing out a lot of free tickets to people in difficult life circumstances.
  • Has an extremely high focus on the brilliant youth academy and its potential. Giving a lot of playing time to academy players.

To me, it is secondary what League Sunderland plays in. If I had to choose I would rather play in non-league with decent ownership than play in the Premier League under some half bad owner like those who have been here for the last many years.

I am seriously considering turning my back on this club. At least temporarily. At least until the club some day might get decent ownership that we can actually trust.

guess there might only be two good sorts of ownership then:

  1. Fan ownership. Either 100%. Preferably 51%+. At the very least substantial ownership, substantial board presence, some sort of structure where the fans have a huge say in most major decisions. And ensuring extensive transparency.
  2. An altruistic (and cunning) owner who is also a Sunderland fan and who would never sell the club to make a profit for himself. Who would only sell to a similar sort of person (not many of those I suspect).

I wish the club would be more like, say, Exeter City, AFC Wimbledon, FC United of Manchester, Athletic Club Bilbao or FC St. Pauli.

I hope that this club one day gets the decent ownership that it deserves. That the fans deserve. That the wonderful local people deserve. I have enjoyed all my trips to Sunderland watching matches. Your area is one of my favorite parts of the world, perhaps my favorite part. If I had a huge trust fund, I would definitely attempt to buy the club and try to run it in a decent manner. To serve the fans and the locals, not to exploit them and taking the piss on them.

Best regards from your Norwegian/Danish fan,

Dan Ejstrup

Ed’s Note [Martin]: There are a lot of question marks about KLD at present and as you rightly say this shouldn’t be the case more than a year after he took over. I think he’s been very naive at the best over his handling of the Madrox share issue, and unfortunately, we’ve not seen progress where it matters most – on the field.

I think there’s a danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater at present though, and it’s important to consider the footballing infrastructure that’s been put in place since KLD’s arrival and the refocusing on the Academy, which were but stripped back to the absolute bare minimum (even further, if truth be told) by the previous ownership.

I still think there’s huge potential for KLD to do great things at SAFC, but he needs to get a greater hold over the club and seriously invest on the field because any off the field work actually becomes less and less important if we’re not in the Championship at least.

Finally, I understand your sentiment regarding having a good owner and playing non league football, but completely disagree – this club needs to be in the top flight or championship at least, otherwise it’ll die. When you look at our history it’s a disgrace we’re in this league to start with – we can never lose our desire to be a top club.


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