Philip West says...
I think that the overarching theme of the meeting between KLD and the supporters’ collective needs to be honesty. Honesty about his intentions, honesty about the current state of play, and honesty about contingency plans and strategy, should we fail to get promoted this season. There has been a lot of confusion and vague language used in recent exchanges, and that needs to be changed.
This is a big chance for Louis-Dreyfus to re-establish some much-needed trust and a better level of communication between the club and the supporters. Both of these have certainly been damaged in recent weeks and months.
Given that he is a young businessman making his way in English football, I think there is ample time for him to get things right, but concrete steps need to be taken in order to achieve that.
In terms of questions that need to be asked, I believe that there are three key ones that stand out.
1) Does KLD intend, at some stage, to take a controlling stake in the club that will enable him to fully implement his own plan and vision for our future?
With the spectre of Madrox still hanging over the club and Charlie Methven’s attendance at games a source of unrest, a clean break is needed, further down the track, to enable everyone connected with the club, as well as the club itself, to move forward.
From a PR point of view, the impression being given is, at best, unclear, and at worst, worrying. If Donald, Methven and Sartori could be bought out, that would be an excellent outcome.
2) It is widely accepted that, defensively, we were left short when the January window closed, that there is a lot of lingering dissatisfaction at Kristjaan Speakman’s methods and his reasoning for allowing the likes of Tom Flanagan to leave, and that the squad was left imbalanced when all was said and done.
With that in mind, is there a plan in place, in terms of recruitment and balancing the books, should we fail to achieve promotion this season?
Reaching the Championship is very much on a knife-edge, and worries about our best players departing, and another summer of upheaval, are certainly justified if another season in L1 is on the radar.
3) Could more be done to make the Stadium of Light a more welcoming and well-appointed facility for supporters to visit?
The stadium remains an easily-accessible, modern place to watch a game, but some of the facilities in and around the concourse areas are showing their age and little seems to have been done to spruce them up. Is this something that can be addressed and rectified at some stage in the near future?
Kelvin Beattie says...
1. I would be interested to hear the owner’s thoughts on the Academy. How does he see the club improving the number and quality of young players coming through to the first team?
2. Would he welcome supporter representation at board level and if so how would he as owner facilitate this?
3. I am concerned about the impending financial crisis for the UK general population. With power costs, food and everyday living costs predicted to drastically rise, would he think again about increasing the cost of season cards and entrance fees for next season?
4. Maybe not a priority at the moment, but the stadium walls from the outside are generally bare and bland. Would he consider this issue and facilitate some creative improvements?
I am hoping that trust can be enhanced, that we the supporters can deliver a positive message of support and encouragement when we are dealt with honestly and fairly.
Rich Speight says...
From those of us who write and podcast about Sunderland AFC Ladies, we’d like to know more about the 5-year plan for the ladies. What is that plan? What are the end goals?
With Newcastle looking to pay their players “like professionals” what are Sunderland going to do to ensure our best young talent is not taken away by them or others? The FA strategy is for two fully professional leagues in women’s football in the coming years. Do you have funded plans to offer professional full-time contracts to Sunderland Ladies players, and if not why not?
What is the club’s strategy for growing attendances and audiences for SAFC Ladies? Have you attended any Sunderland Ladies games this season, and if not why not? Why was Igor Levin chosen to lead the club’s implementation of the Premier League Equality, Diversity & Inclusion standards, and what are the first actions on his to-do list?
Finally, why in 2022 do we have no women on the board of Sunderland AFC, and do you plan to rectify this situation any time soon?