In a forthcoming episode of the Roker Rapport Podcast which will be out over the coming days, Sky Sports’ presenter and resident Sunderland fan Tom White has joined us to talk about the news he broke recently about ‘The Fans Together’ agreeing a deal with Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven to buy their shares in Sunderland AFC.
In the podcast, which will be available in the very near future, White discusses all the news and rumours regarding the potential investment in the club.
White explains how and when he first heard of the group’s interest in Sunderland and what led him to break the story of a bid being accepted for Donald and Methven’s shares:
About two months, maybe six weeks ago, a representative for a group called The Fans Together, they phoned me... asking me about the club, what the fans want, even asking me what I think of Alex Neil.
I put the phone down and you think ‘Oh well, that’s probably it, they’re interested in buying Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven’s shares, let’s see where it goes’ and you kind of put it to the back of your mind.
But, in fairness to them, they kept updating me with what was going on but it’s still very early days, it’s not that I didn’t think that they’d get this far, I’ve just seen it before where people say “oh yeah, it’s too much money”.
In the end we got promoted and I thought that might ramp the price up even more but when they really got my interest was at Sheffield Wednesday at home in the Play-Offs, they had two representatives in the boardroom, a third representative joined the boardroom post-match and that’s when I thought ‘Crikey, I may actually have to make some phone calls here’ and find out a little bit more about them and find out what’s going on.
Because if they’re in the boardroom, that means that things are more advanced than maybe I thought.
Again, at that stage, as a journalist I could have broken that but, then again, there might be someone in the boardroom every week who are looking to buy shares and I just don’t know about them.
So I thought; is it really news? Does it move the story on? Is there a story in this, at all?
I didn’t really speak to them at all prior to the final and then when we won the final, that’s when they got back in touch to say “Right, things are moving, I might have something for you in a few days”. Again, always sceptical.
At this stage I can tell you that they had agreed a price before the final, two prices, one for League One and one for the Championship.
Thankfully we won the Play-Offs for all of us, brilliant, best weekend ever. Not stopped celebrating, it’s been brilliant.
When we went up, a heck of a lot more interest came in those shares, a lot of people were after those shares now we were in the Championship rather than League One but this group were already advanced, they had already agreed the price.
Then it got to the stage where the bid had been accepted and things were really moving to the stage of EFL and that’s obviously when I was able to report that but still I had been asked not to name the group.
There was the statement from Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, but everything that has been reported by both me and from The Athletic as well has just been pure facts.
A lot of fans are not happy regarding the background and potential minefield surrounding a crypto group getting involved with Sunderland and are wondering why Kyril Louis-Dreyfus would not just buy the available shares himself, White says that he believes the Sunderland chairman is not interested at this moment in time:
It’s my information from various sources that Kyril Louis-Dreyfus was never going to buy these [Donald and Methven’s] shares, sorry, not never that’s not fair, right now he wasn’t going to buy these shares.
He’s happy with the amount of shares he’s got, remember that he’s got 41%, he’s got the controlling stake and he’s Chairman, does he need an extra 39? He’s got Juan Sartori with 20% and it’s also my information that those two get on very well, those two work together.
So if you add those two together, you’ve got 61% there, does Kyril Louis-Dreyfus really need to buy the other 39?
So my information was that he wasn’t interested in the other 39%, at this stage anyway.
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