When we first heard about Ellis Short we only needed two pieces of information to know that he was the man for us. ‘Quinny likes him’, ‘he’s a billionaire’ and we were in.
Of course, when you’ve spent years of unhappiness that you feel will never end, anybody who smiles at you becomes the answer to your prayers.
Yesterday we fell in love again. This time it was even easier for Stewart and Charlie (and they are Stewart and Charlie, if you sit in the away end and chat to Bally before Bain then you’re not going to Messrs Donald and Methven). It was easy because they passed the only test we cared about, they’re not Ellis Short.
Let’s be honest, if today sees Bain and Rodwell leave the club we’ll be inviting Stewart and Charlie to meet our daughters. But are we right to fall so quickly and easily? After all, wise men say...
First impressions are of two men who clearly care about football and want to run a football club ‘the right way’.
They’ve said absolutely nothing wrong, in fact everything they said was right, but worth remembering that Charlie Methven was, last year, ranked in the top ten PR people in the country. He has a skill set that means he could make you feel happy about your family being wiped out. The comments on Twitter were of a ‘top lad’ who ‘knows what it’s like to be a Sunderland fan’. Really? Which aspect of his Eton school, Oxford University, city millionaire life makes him one of the lads? Don’t get me wrong, first impression of him is great. What was said about Bally, access to information, agents etc were great, but they’re all generic, easy wins.
Stewart Donald went to a normal school in Oxfordshire, worked hard and is a massive Oxford United fan. Now, that sounds more like one of the lads. He loves his football on a Saturday with his mates and a few beers. Happy days. But remember, he’s a self-made millionaire in Insurance. I know a few self-made millionaires. They all have the ability to talk to anyone like they’re your best mate and they all have the ability to make tough decisions without flinching, no matter what happens to the other guy.
I’ve never met a millionaire who is exclusively nice. I don’t think it’s possible. I’m not saying he’s not a great bloke, I don’t know him, I’m just saying that we’re yet to see the other side of him. The way he spoke about agents showed he’ll take no nonsense. The fact he plans to ring the players directly while they’re on holiday - ‘I’ll talk to my employees (when I want)’ - was telling. So far, we’ve seen Mr Nice Guy, let’s wait and see the other side too. When it’s aimed at Rodwell, great. What about when it’s aimed at a loss-making women’s team or a charity.
Don’t get me wrong, their work yesterday and for the last three weeks has been fantastic but let’s not fall at their feet quite yet. They’re asked us to let them get on and that they’ll keep us informed. There are things we all know need doing - operational structure change, players, managers, commercial relationships etc. So, let’s let them get on without us chasing them constantly for Coors and pink seat updates. I’m looking forward to seeing their results and I’m excited about what’s to come. We should support them, we should support our club, make a commitment with a season ticket and look forward to Stewart and Charlie doing the business.
We have a part to play too. Remember that the best way to make sure people don’t see pink seats isn’t for a chairman to replace them while you hold the screws, it’s to fill them on a Saturday.
All I’m saying is their work isn’t done after one good press conference. Hell, after one day we thought Stan Varga was better than Charlie Hurley. The signs are great, let their work begin, and let’s get behind our club and do our bit too. Good luck Stewart, good luck Charlie, I look forward to admitting I can’t help falling in love with you.